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Morality and Politics: The Free Churches and the Labour Party between the Wars

Peter Catterall
The Historical Journal
Vol. 36, No. 3 (Sep., 1993), pp. 667-685
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2639783
Page Count: 19
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Morality and Politics: The Free Churches and the Labour Party between the Wars
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Abstract

The inter-war period saw the decline of the Liberal party, the traditional political ally of the free churches, and the rise of the Labour party. This article traces the responses of the free churches to these developments. The relationship of the free churches with the Labour party in this period is examined at three different levels; that of the free church leadership, that of the chapels and the ordinary people in the pews and that of the nonconformists who became active in the Labour party. Whilst attitudes towards the Labour party changed within free church institutions during the interwar years they did not become important supporters of the party, or greatly influence it. The number and proportion of individual nonconformists who were active and influential in the party in this period was however considerable. In the process not only did Labour M.P.s become the main carriers of the nonconformist conscience on issues such as drink and gambling. They also made a distinctive and important contribution to the development and ideals of the Labour party.

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