Protestantism and the politics of overseas expansion in later Stuart England
in Making the British empire, 1660–1800
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This chapter re-examines the relationship between the Protestant religion and the politics of English overseas expansion, and looks at how confessional concerns entered into debates over colonisation. It argues that although English plantation may not have followed the coherent Protestant strategy mapped in early scholarship, the debate over the dominions was nevertheless inflected with spiritual, theological and ecclesiastical concerns. Debates occurred over whether to Christianise indigenous populations or reconstruct the ecclesiastical order of the domestic realm. It also argues that the relationship between overseas expansion and the reformed religion became problematic not because colonial policy was secularised, but because Protestants found no consensus over the sweeping moral, pastoral and political questions provoked by ventures outside Europe.

Editor: Jason Peacey

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