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4 - Religious Thought: The Defence of Religious Establishment

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 June 2021

Frans De Bruyn
Affiliation:
University of Ottawa
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Summary

The debate over the presence and nature of a single established church in England is perhaps the most important religious issue in the long eighteenth century. From the Elizabethan ‘Penal Laws’ designed to suppress Roman Catholicism to the ‘Clarendon Code’, intended to limit the civil participation of Protestant Nonconformists, the history of religious establishment in England reveals patterns of protectionism and exclusion necessary to maintain the privileged position of the Church ‘as by law established’. New ideas in the eighteenth century, such as toleration and deism, as well as the rise of Methodism, challenged but did not overcome this Anglican hegemony.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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