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By Hugh Mcleod

It may well were little greater than an annotated bibliography. it truly is in reality a massive self sustaining learn in its personal right.' The Expository instances

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Thompson [1968]. He suggests that the years after Wesley's death in 1791 saw: 'the consolidation of a new bureaucracy of ministers who regarded it as their duty to manipulate the submissiveness of their fo11owers and to discipline a11 deviant growths within the Church which could give offence to authority. In this they were very successful' [386]. Constant subjection to conservative political indoctrination 'could reduce the Methodist working man to one of the most abject of human beings'; in support of this claim, he quotes contemporary accusations that Methodists had acted as spies for government or employers [429-30].

If some Methodists were radicals, this was areaction against the authoritarianism of their leaders, rather than any expression of authentic Methodism [433]. A second view, advanced many years ago by Wearmouth [1937], and recently updated by Gilbert [1978-9], presents Methodism, and other popular evangelical movements, as forces for moderate reform which helped to produce an independent-minded and politica11y-active working class, but militated against violence or illegality. Thompson, in fact, accepts that there was general participation by Methodists in Chartism in some areas [1968, 433], so that his difference with Gilbert seems to be largely a matter of chronology and interpretation.

Similarly, Ainsworth [1977] suggests that socialism as it developed in east Lancashire in the later nineteenth century was strongly influenced by the Nonconformist traditions of the area, and that socialists tended to stress the Christian basis of their socialism, even when they dropped their formal church ties. On the other hand, E. P. Thompson has attempted to deflate claims that Nonconformity had a major influence on the formation of the ILP in Yorkshire. While admitting the heavy use ofbiblical rhetoric in ILP propaganda, he highlights the opposition presented by the 'Nonconformist "Establishment" " and argues that the ILP was 'as much arevolt against organised Christianity as a form of Christian expression' ['Hornage to Tom Maguire,' in A.

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