Pricking the ‘non-conformist conscience’
Religion against the South African War
in The South African War reappraised
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A study of the 'non-conformist conscience' (which reflected the political life of free churches, such as the Congregational, Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, Unitarian and Quaker) and the South African War of 1899-1902 inevitably intersects with many historiographical debates. British imperial historians in the wake of a renewed debate about the ideologies of imperialism, especially cultural imperialism, and a rethink about the economics of empire have taken a hard look at how religion has influenced the construction of empire. The literature on nonconformity in nineteenth-century Britain has been refined in the 1980s and early 1990s, following the seminal contributions of David Bebbington and Brian Stanley. Since this chapter is concerned with the anti-war strand of the nonconformist conscience, the historical literature about 'pro-Boerism' is germane. The weakness of the non-conformist anti-war movement mirrored that of the larger general 'pro-Boer' lobby.

Editor: Donal Lowry

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