Nonconformity and socialism: the case of J. G. Greenhough, 1880–1914

Liam Ryan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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This article examines the life, thought and activism of the prominent Baptist minister John Gershom Greenhough. Existing scholarly and popular narratives generally focus on the key role played by Nonconformity in nurturing the labour movement in late Victorian and Edwardian Britain. Using Greenhough as a case study this article posits an alternative interpretation of this relationship, contending that the individualistic religious culture of Nonconformity was often deeply hostile to socialism. This hostility motivated Greenhough, and others like him, to abandon their historical allegiance to the Liberal party in the early twentieth century in favour of the Conservatives. More broadly, this article investigates the process of political and ideological conversion and challenges dominant historical readings that characterize anti-socialism as being synonymous with middle-class economic self-interest.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)771-789
Number of pages19
JournalHistorical Research
Issue number258
Early online date9 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2019

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