The age of Walpole: politics and theology, 1720–41

Jeffrey R. Wigelsworth

in Deism in Enlightenment England

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print March 2009 | ISBN: 9780719078729
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781703304 | DOI:
The age of Walpole: politics and theology, 1720–41

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This chapter outlines the theological and political writings of the deists, conceived during a period described as political stability. While England dealt with yet another European war, deism as a perceived threat to political and theological stability faded from the collective mindset of the nation. Though deism continued to find advocates after Morgan died in 1743, the new followers failed to inflame passions as their predecessors had. One religious threat replaced another and theological concerns and sensibilities continued to play a role in the intellectual scene of the day. Some overall conclusions are apparent regarding the deists' conception of God and politics. The deists clearly believed in a God who created the universe and enacted certain relationships between himself and humanity. These consistencies existed in both the natural philosophical and political realms. The deists argued for an accountable government; as God must always act in accordance with the laws of nature, the monarch must rule within the boundaries of national law. They also argued that God, who acted only for the benefit of humanity, provided the correct model of government, which must place the well being of citizens before its own designs on maintaining power.

Keywords: God; deism; political stability; European war; deists; natural philosophy

Chapter.  18062 words. 

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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