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First Published in 1968. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.
This book is a companion to my book The Theoretical Solution to the British/Irish Problem, which gives a suggested constitution for the Federal Kingdom of Ireland and it recognizes a right, center, and left political structure of the Federation. The left structure is the Irish Christian Social and Democratic Party. Christian Socialism is peaceful in its origins and present form and is opposed to the violence of Marxist class conflict. In place of class struggle, Christian Socialism places class togetherness. Christian Socialism envisages a New Ireland and a New Ireland needs a new economic theory of the left. Georgeist economics fits the bill. George argued that land shouldnt be owned by individuals but collectively by the people. He held that there should be only a single land tax raised to meet the expenses of the state. This was a popular economic theory in the nineteenth century but was crushed by neoclassical economists such as Marx in the interests of the landed gentry in Ireland and England. Marx condemned the excesses of capitalists in their exploitation of labor but was silent when it came to the exploitation of tenant farmers in Ireland by the landed gentry. Georgeist economics need to be looked at again in twenty-first century Ireland.
In this book, Anthony Williams investigates the history of Christian Socialist thought in Britain from the late nineteenth to mid-twentieth century. Through analysis of the writings of ten key Christian Socialists from the period, Williams reframes the ideology of Christian Socialism as a coherent and influential body of political thought - moving the study of Christian Socialism away from historical narratives and towards political ideology. The book sheds new light on a key period in British political development, in particular Williams demonstrates how the growth of the Christian Socialist movement exercised a profound impact on the formation of the British Labour party, which would go on to radically change 20th century politics in Britain.
Victorian Christian Socialism began as a protest against industrial evils by a group of Anglicans in 1848 - the year of the great Chartist demonstration. In F. D. Maurice it had a prophet and a thinker whose ideas inspired subsequent Christians, so that the ideals of the original Christian Socialists began to spread to other Churches. The result was a series of critiques of the England of their day, rather than a systematic 'movement', and is best analysed, as it is in this book, through an examination of the leading figures, who in addition to Maurice include Charles Kingsley, Thomas Hughes and John Ruskin. The present study is not a collection of biographical studies, however, but a history of Christian Socialism constructed around the most influential of its advocates. They are shown to have been ethical and educational reformers rather than politicians, but in their ability to stand outside the common assumptions and prejudices of their day they achieved social criticism of lasting value.
Until recently the British Labour movement seemed to have lost touch with its Christian roots. Many leading members of the Labour Party were confessedly secular. But the triumph of the New Right and the collapse of Communism forced the Left to redefine socialism. Church leaders also encouraged people to be critical of the prevailing ideology. Some discovered an alternative in the Christian Socialist tradition, which became much better known when Tony Blair and other noted figures described how their political beliefs derived from their Christian faith. This current resurgence of Christian Socialism makes a reassessment of its history particularly timely. In this book, an expanded version of the 1998 Scott Holland Lectures, Alan Wilkinson sketches the nineteenth-century background to the Christian Socialism of F.D. Maurice, analyses the new mutation promoted by Henry Scott Holland and Charles Gore, and shows how this influenced R.H. Tawny and William Temple. He describes how such different figures as Neville Figgis and George MacLeod explored the nature of community and why some Christian Socialists were attracted to Roman Catholic social teaching. He also discusses those who have found the main Christian Socialist tradition too tame, such as Alan Ecclestone, Donald Soper, and Kenneth Leech. The book concludes with a survey of Christian Socialist politicians.

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