This introductory chapter sets out the purpose of the book, which is to build on the idea of an indirect link between evangelical religion and political activism but also to emphasise the direct stimulus given to land reformers by biblico-theological arguments. The chapters demonstrate that evangelicals and other leading churchmen were determined to maintain law and order and this message was largely, but not always entirely, accepted by their congregations. In their encouraging of passivity before the forces of the state, they never wavered throughout the whole of the nineteenth century. What did change, however, was their increased willingness to criticise the existing arrangements of society. This study concentrates on the events of the 1880s that have become known as ‘the crofters' war’.
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