Post-war Politics

Dr Philip Lockley

in Visionary Religion and Radicalism in Early Industrial England

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199663873
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191744792 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Theological Monographs

Post-war Politics

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This chapter assesses the nature of the relationship between Southcottian millenarians and popular radicalism in the period following the end of the Napoleonic Wars, 1815-20. It argues that Southcottians had no active sympathy for radical politics: even those led by George Turner (d.1821) retained an apolitical attitude consistent with that identified during Southcott’s life-time. Despite this traceable stance, outsider perceptions of the millenarian sect assumed an association at the time: Home Office officials received reports linking Southcottian activities to radicalism in both the North and London. The chapter examines this evidence, and compares the nature of Southcottian beliefs before 1820 with those of an ultra-radical group known for its own millenarian expectations – the ‘Society of Spencean Philanthropists’, or Spenceans. In 1820, Southcottians and Spenceans still held dramatically different beliefs about the role of human agency in realising the millennium – a situation which would change over the course of the 1820s.

Keywords: home Office; politics; radicalism; spenceans; George Turner

Chapter.  8109 words. 

Subjects: Christianity

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