Joseph Hardwick
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Colonial special worship in the period between the American Revolution and the Great War displayed considerable diversity and complexity. Multiple strands of special worship coexisted in colonial societies and sometimes such traditions were in tension with one another. Furthermore, special worship might expose the difference between regions and people, and it could inflame sectarian tensions While the conclusion notes these points of contest and divergence, it draws out the convergences in special worship and emphasises unifying themes. Colonial governments, as well as a good proportion of the colonial public, continued to acknowledge that God exercised divine superintendence over nations and the natural world. Such evidence challenges the view that colonies with cosmopolitan populations were ideal locations for the development of post-Enlightenment forms of secularised government. Special worship shows that traditional practices, ideas and institutions played vital roles in the journeys that settler dominions made towards modernity. The conclusion also considers what special worship achieved (for instance in bolstering the confidence and national credentials of an imperial Anglicanism), and the extent to which the traditions discussed in the book evolved in the twentieth century and persist to the present day.

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Prayer, providence and empire

Special worship in the British world, 1783–1919


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