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Crosses on the Ballot: The Political Alignments of British Methodists, 1832...

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Wesley Methodist Church, Cambridge

Christ Pieces

CB1 1LG

United Kingdom

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2018 Wesley Historical Society Lecture

by Dr Clive D. Field, OBE, DLitt.

CROSSES ON THE BALLOT: THE POLITICAL ALIGNMENTS OF BRITISH METHODISTS, 1832-2017

Much has been written about the relationship of British Methodism to politics, from John Wesley’s day to the present. However, the story has invariably been told from the perspective of: pronouncements of Methodist conferences and connexional agencies; editorials and correspondence in Methodist newspapers; and the thoughts and deeds of Methodist political activists, national and local. This lecture explores the political opinions and behaviour of grass-roots Methodists by synthesizing what we know about how they actually voted in general elections during four periods (1832-67, 1867-1918, 1918-45, and 1945 and after), taking into account successive extensions of the parliamentary franchise and the growth of the electorate. The analysis, which draws upon both primary and secondary sources (including the author’s survey of veteran Methodists in the 1970s), supports four summative reflections and opens up opportunities for further research.


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Wesley Methodist Church, Cambridge

Christ Pieces

CB1 1LG

United Kingdom

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