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Title: Irish covenanters : politics and society in the nineteenth century
Author: Donachie, Thomas Charles
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2013
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Abstract:
The Reformed Presbyterian Church of Ireland in the nineteenth century, whose members are usually referred to as Covenanters, traced its origin back to the religious and political ferment of the sixteenth-century Reformation and, more particularly, the seventeenth-century Second Reformation in Scotland. They held to the perpetual obligation of the terms of the Scottish National Covenant of 1638 and the Solemn League and Covenant of 1643 that set out a vision for a Presbyterian state in Britain and Ireland through the eradication of all non-Presbyterianism. Their commitment to the binding character of these covenants meant that they could not accept the Revolution Settlement of 1688-90 and rejected the arrangements made for church and state as these did not uphold covenant obligations. This thesis shows how they attempted to remain faithful to this heritage in the rapidly-changing context of the nineteenth century. The first chapter provides an overview of developments in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries before considering the geographical - distribution, numerical growth, and social and economic status of the Covenanter community in the nineteenth century. Chapter Two examines their attitude to church-state relations and the internal divisions over this issue that caused a split in the denomination in 1840. The following three chapters examine how the theory of the Covenanters was applied to practical issues, namely, the exercise of the franchise, participation in the new national system of education in Ireland, and the unionist opposition to Home Rule. The potential tensions between the official position of the church as articulated by the clergy and the attitude of the laity will be assessed throughout. In addition, the thesis also seeks to assess whether or not Covenanters were able to maintain their distinctive identity or whether they were swallowed-up in the revival of conservative religiosity amongst mainstream Irish Presbyterians and the pan-protestant political unity against the threat of 'Rome Rule'
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.602484  DOI: Not available
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