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The Oxford History of the British Empire: Volume II: The Eighteenth Century$
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P. J. Marshall and Alaine Low

Print publication date: 1998

Print ISBN-13: 9780198205630

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205630.001.0001

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Religious Faith and Commercial Empire

Religious Faith and Commercial Empire

(p.128) 6 Religious Faith and Commercial Empire
The Oxford History of the British Empire: Volume II: The Eighteenth Century

Boyd Stanley Schlenther

Oxford University Press

This chapter provides a discussion on religion in relation to the British commercial Empire during the 18th century. Religion in the developing 18th-century British Empire was directly influenced by a burgeoning commercial culture. Strenuous efforts by the Church of England to co-ordinate its activities in the Atlantic world were seriously undercut. Growing colonial impulses intent on celebrating the blessings of free trade in goods were accompanied by equally potent forces expounding free trade in religious ideas and practices. By the second half of the century, this had swamped any hope of a religiously unified Empire and had firmly established religious competition throughout the New World marketplace. In general, Great Britain’s 18th-century Empire was driven by the marketplace rather than the meeting-house. The Great Awakening had taught men to make new choices in open market terms and had greatly increased the sense of individual destiny in America.

Keywords:   religion, British commercial Empire, Church of England, Great Britain, free trade, New World marketplace, America

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