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God's Empire
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Book description

In God's Empire, Hilary M. Carey charts Britain's nineteenth-century transformation from Protestant nation to free Christian empire through the history of the colonial missionary movement. This wide-ranging reassessment of the religious character of the second British empire provides a clear account of the promotional strategies of the major churches and church parties which worked to plant settler Christianity in British domains. Based on extensive use of original archival and rare published sources, the author explores major debates such as the relationship between religion and colonization, church-state relations, Irish Catholics in the empire, the impact of the Scottish Disruption on colonial Presbyterianism, competition between Evangelicals and other Anglicans in the colonies, and between British and American strands of Methodism in British North America.


‘This is a groundbreaking study of British and Irish efforts to forge a Christian empire through missions to the settlement colonies - deeply impressive for its balanced judgements, geographical breadth and multi-denominational approach. Hilary Carey has given a promising new direction to the study of imperial religion.’

Stewart J. Brown - Professor of Ecclesiastical History and Head of the School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh

‘Deeply researched and also highly readable, this is a pioneering venture into largely unexplored historical territory. Especially impressive is Hilary Carey's even-handedness. She establishes the major role played by religion in the building of Greater Britain, yet her narrative remains equally distanced from apologetics and from debunking.’

Hugh McLeod - Professor of Church History, University of Birmingham

‘Hilary Carey has fashioned a pathbreaking narrative of the complex history of British Christianity in the settler colonies. Notable for its breadth, God's Empire provides an accomplished comparative and statistical analysis of the work of every major British denomination along with a valuable account of the colonial work of the English Benedictines. It will be of special interest to historians of religion and colonial history alike.’

Jeffrey L. Cox - Professor of History, University of Iowa

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  • 1 - Colonialism, colonisation and Greater Britain
    pp 3-39


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