The Call to SeriousnessThe Evangelical Impact of the Victorians
The Call to Seriousness examines the nature and the extent of the impact which the Evangelicals made on English life in the first half of the 19th century. Two men dominated the Evanglical world during this period: William Wilberforce, who was the central figure in the Clapham Sect (the celebrated group of Evangelicals who were instrumental in both the abolition of slavery and the foundation of CMS); and Anthony Ashley Cooper, the Seventh Earl of Shaftesbury, remembered mainly for championing the cause of factory workers.
Author Ian Bradley argues that the influence of the Evangelicals was, on the whole, a positive one. The Evangelicals alone did not make the Victorians what they were. They did, however, play a considerable part in helping to establish the peculiar temper of the age. Above all, Evangelicalism was responsible for giving the Victorians their famous seriousness and high-mindedness.
Ian Bradley is Reader in Church History and Practical Theology at the University of St Andrews. A regular broadcaster and journalist, he has written over 30 books.