Conscience or coercion? Clerical influence at the general election of 1868 in Wales

Cragoe, Matthew (1995) Conscience or coercion? Clerical influence at the general election of 1868 in Wales. Past and Present, 149 (1). pp. 140-169. ISSN 0031-2746

Full content URL:

140.full.pdf - Whole Document

Item Type:Article
Item Status:Live Archive


For many people in mid-nineteenth-century Britain, religious
principle was the chief determinant of voting behaviour, and
politics was perceived to be "an activity of significance mainly
because religious issues were so prominent".1 The importance of
religious questions at election time naturally brought politics
within the purview of the church and the chapel. In general
terms, the Anglican clergy, though overwhelmingly Conservative
in their voting behaviour, tended to shrink from contact with the
electoral process itself.2 The dissenting ministers, however,
embraced it, and enrolled themselves as unflagging champions of
the Liberal cause. As John Vincent once observed: "No other
occupation was so partisan, so militant, so unfloating, as the
Dissenting ministers. They were a sort of Communist hardcore
of the Popular Front".3 The Catholic clergy, meanwhile, especially
in Ireland, took a similarly prominent role in the organization
of politics, having a crucial voice in everything from the choice
of the candidate to the refreshment of the voters on polling-day.4
Given the extent of their involvement, it is surprising that so

Keywords:Political history, Wales, Political aspects of religion
Subjects:L Social studies > L200 Politics
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V144 Modern History 1800-1899
L Social studies > L350 Religion in Society
Divisions:College of Arts
Related URLs:
ID Code:14109
Deposited On:29 May 2014 13:57

Repository Staff Only: item control page