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Tractarians and the 'Condition of England'The Social and Political Thought of the Oxford Movement$
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S. A. Skinner

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199273232

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199273232.001.0001

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(p.292) Conclusion
Tractarians and the 'Condition of England'

S. A. Skinner (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This book concludes that the social and political commentary which emerges from attention to tractarianists' neglected polemic, and to its customarily secondary figures, was an organic element of tractarianism. This commentary demonstrates the need for a reassessment of the historical conventions that tractarianism was not ‘a movement to concern itself in any serious way with questions of social justice’, and that ‘it was not until after 1845 that the Anglo-Catholic revival reached out to the poor’. Tractarians could not conceive questions of social justice discretely from questions of churchmanship. This holism derived from an aggressive conception of the church's ministry to secular society which held that its right of ‘meddling’ in temporal affairs was axiomatic. Tractarians delivered a damning indictment of the ‘condition of England’. Their literary and homiletic commentary addressed the evils of commercialism, the iniquity of political economy and the new poor law, and the suffering of the urban and rural working classes.

Keywords:   England, tractarianism, social justice, commercialism, political economy, poor law, working classes

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