‘Conspicuous’ philanthropists:<sup>1</sup> nonconformist religion in nineteenth-century pacifism

Heloise Brown

in ‘The Truest Form of Patriotism’

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print December 2003 | ISBN: 9780719065309
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781700457 | DOI:
‘Conspicuous’ philanthropists:1 nonconformist religion in nineteenth-century pacifism

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The role of nonconformist religion in the early feminist movement is widely acknowledged. From the Unitarian Caroline Ashurst Biggs, to the Quaker Priestman and Bright family networks, feminist politics developed in significant part within the context of nonconformity. It was much the same for the peace movement. Two issues were key to religious perspectives on peace in the nineteenth century: one was Quaker theology and the commitment to testimony against war, the other, the influence of Evangelicalism. This chapter considers the importance of Evangelical religion in nonconformist pacifism, particularly the Peace Society, and the impact that theological developments within the Society of Friends had upon the peace movement. Evangelicals dominated the nonconformist peace movement for much of the nineteenth century, although the movement accommodated with apparent ease the rise of the new liberal Quaker theology in the 1880s and 1890s. Women were largely excluded from both this theology and the organised peace movement, although they were present and often active in supporting roles.

Keywords: nonconformist religion; feminist politics; liberal Quaker theology; Peace Society; Evangelical religion; Evangelicalism; nonconformist pacifism

Chapter.  6725 words. 

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