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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10484/3760

Title: Intellectual backgrounds of the humanitarian concerns of the 'Clapham sect': a study in the history of ideas.
Authors: Railsback, Rick.D
Issue Date: 10-Apr-2012
Abstract: The Clapham Sect was a group of Anglican Evangelicels of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries associated in numerous humanitarian endeavours, most notably the campaigns which resulted in the abolition of the Slave Trade in 1807 and of slavery itself, in the British Empire, in 1833.The Clamphamites were a fellowship of like-minded collegues, most of whom resided in the London suburb of Clapham.Among the Clamphamites were busniessmen,bankers,Cambridge professors, and Members of Parliament.On issues of public concern addressed by the Sect leadership was provided by William Wilberforce,Henry Thornton,Thomas Clarkson,James Stephen Sr.,Granville Sharp, and Zachary Macaulay.The thesis examines several of the concepts which spurred the Claphamites to moral concern and unstinted humanitarian labor. Claphamite unity was rooted in shared Evangelical commitments, yet other Evangelicals of their time had no similar interest in humanitarianism. The uniqueness of the Claphamites was dependent on the ideas they held.The Claphamites saw Britain as chosen by god to be a "Light to the Nations". This responsebility involved the practise of justice in all spheres. A clear violation in the Slave Trade-- so the Sect reminded the nation--was the casting aside of biblical prohibitions against "murder and rapine".Concern with the human rights was magnified by Claphamite belief in the equality of men. They were convinced that the Scriptures taught egalitarianism and the corollary that men have infinite personal worth because they possess souls. The Claphamites saw as their duty the eradication of oppresive conditions which impeded equality and human development.In the accomplishment of such tasks, the Claphamites believed they were merely carrying out their "calling in their sphere of "usefulness". An aspect of that "calling" was the restoration of men to their natural rights. While talk to the rights of men earned the Claphamites the opprobrium of Jacobins, they were convinced that injustice could never be rationalized as "politic".The Sect therefore relentlessly researched to demonstrate to those holding the purse strings of commerce, and to those with the power to enact laws, the impolicy of injustice.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10484/3760
In Collections:Educational Leadership, Administration, and Foundations

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