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Synopsis

The British state between the mid-seventeenth century to the early twentieth century was essentially a Christian state. Christianity permeated society, defining the rites of passage - baptism, first communion, marriage and burial - that shaped individual lives, providing a sense of continuity between past, present and future generations, and informing social institutions and voluntary associations. Yet this religious conception of state and society was also the source of conflict. The Restoration of the monarchy in 1660 brought limited toleration for Protestant Dissenters, who felt unable to worship in the established Church, and there were challenges to faith raised by biblical and historical scholarship, science, moral questioning and social dislocations and unrest.

This book brings together a distinguished team of authors who explore the interactions of religion, politics and culture that shaped and defined modern Britain. They consider expressions of civic consciousness in the expanding towns and cities, the growth of Welsh national identity, movements for popular education and temperance reform, and the influence of organised sport, popular journalism, and historical writing in defining national life. Most importantly, the contributors highlight the vital role of religious faith and religious institutions in the understanding of the modern British state.

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