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John Wesley’s Rebuke to the Rebels of British America: Revisiting the 'Calm Address'.

O'Brien, Glen (2012) John Wesley’s Rebuke to the Rebels of British America: Revisiting the 'Calm Address'. Methodist Review, 4. pp. 31-55. ISSN ISSN: 1946-5254 (online)

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This essay revisits John Wesley’s 'A Calm Address to Our American Colonies' (1775) in an attempt to contribute to the renewed interest in the global and transatlantic dimensions of the American Revolution, particularly its religious aspects. Mapping Methodist responses to the Revolution on both sides of the Atlantic may provide a helpful microcosm of responses in the broader religious world. It cautions against seeing Wesley’s political views as extreme Toryism and draws on recent scholarship to demonstrate that Wesley supported a constitu- tional monarchy since its finely tuned balance of power between king, parlia- ment and people needed only to be preserved in order for genuine liberty to prevail. The myth that Methodists destroyed copies of the Calm Address when they reached America in order to avoid being seen as Loyalists is disproved. Methodist responses to the Revolution were varied, ranging from strong oppo- sition to active support, but Wesley’s political views were not unusual in the hotly contested world of eighteenth-century rhetoric on liberty even if Meth- odists would distance themselves from them in the more politically reformist atmosphere of the nineteenth century.

Item Type: Published Articles
Repository Version: Metadata Only
Keywords: Methodist History, John Wesley, The American Revolution, History of American Methodism, Transatlantic Methodism, John Wesley's political writings
Fields of Research: 22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2204 Religion and Religious Studies > 220401 Christian Studies (incl. Biblical Studies and Church History)
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9504 Religion and Ethics > 950406 Religious Traditions (excl. Structures and Rituals)
Type of Activity: Pure Basic Research
Subjects: C - Church History
College/Association with University of Divinity: SABC: Salvation Army Booth College
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Rev Associate Professor Glen O'Brien
Date Deposited: 11 May 2016 03:05
Last Modified: 11 May 2016 03:05
URI: http://repository.divinity.edu.au/id/eprint/1971

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