Stanford, Calif. : Stanford University Press, 1992.
Book — 332 p.
1. Organized anti-catholic protest--
2. Cultural images--
3. Militant roman catholicism--
4. Defensive anglicanism--
5. The tractarian factor--
6. Nonconformity in tension--
7. Anti-catholicism as a political issue--
8. Bonfires, revels, and riots--
9. Who were the anti-catholics?-- Conclusion-- Bibliography-- Index.
(source: Nielsen Book Data)
Anti-Catholic sentiment was a major social, cultural, and political force in Victorian England, capable of arousing remarkable popular passion. Hitherto, however, anti-Catholic feeling has been treated largely from the perspective of parliamentary politics or with reference to the propaganda of various London-based anti-Catholic religious organizations. This book sets out to Victorian anti-Catholicism in a much fuller and more inclusive context, accounting for its persistence over time, disguishing it from anti-Irish sentiment, and explaining its social, economic, political, and religious bases locally as well as nationally. The author is principally concerned with determining what led ordinary people to violent acts against Roman Catholic targets, violent acts against Roman Catholic petitions, joining anti-Catholic organizations, and reading anti-Catholic literature. All too often, English history, and even British history, turns out to be the history of what was happening in the West End. One of the special distinctions of this book is that it shows the interplay between national issues and their local conditions. The book covers the period ca. 1830-70, from Catholic Emancipation to the First Vatican Council, but its methodological starting point is the Papal Aggression Crisis of 1850-51. Using computer-aided statistical techniques, the author links the signatures generated by the petition drives of those years with the social, economic, and religious evidence in the 1851 census. The resulting analysis produces hypotheses about the nature of anti-Catholicism that are tested in the remainder of the book: by connecting the quantitative evidence of petitioning with the literary evidence of newspapers, religious periodicals, and manuscript sources; by identifying and looking closely at localities and groups whose behaviour diverges from the norm; by fixing in their social contexts the signatories; and by analyzing the circumstances of collective behaviour. The author concludes that anti-Catholicism is a complicated issue that cannot be reduced simply to the residue of historical memory, or to not liking the Irish, or to the imposition of social control. Rather, there were several varieties of anti-Catholicism that served different purposes, according to the needs and histories of specific groups and locales. F urthermore, the author shows that Roman Catholics were not simply the passive victims of aggression, but were responsible, by their theological and political militance, for provoking much of the Protestant reaction against them.<. (source: Nielsen Book Data)