8.Shadow of Empire CHAPTER 4 for class

8.Shadow of Empire CHAPTER 4 for class - CHAPTER 4...

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CHAPTER 4 NON-STATE MISSIONARES AND THE MODERATION OF COLONIAL ABUSES In this chapter I discuss one of the consequences of the greater independence of missionaries from state control in British colonies: the moderation of colonial abuses. Evangelical and Nonconformist Protestants mobilized political pressure to remove regulation of religious groups. Because they had more political power in Great Britain than elsewhere in Europe, they were able to remove religious regulation in Great Britain more effectively than elsewhere in Europe. Moreover, British missions developed as independent voluntary organizations. Thus, unlike in much of the rest of Europe, the state did not control their funds or help choose missionary leaders. This made it easier for both Catholic and Protestant missionaries to criticize colonial policy when it went against their interests. As a result, British colonial domination was more fractured. The colonial state had less power to silence missionaries or force religious groups to support its interests. The government had to compete with missionaries to determine how its actions in the colonies were portrayed in the press. The government had to pay attention to a significant voting block that knew something about what happened in the colonies, cared about it, and sometimes voted accordingly. This altered the calculations of colonial officials and business elites. They had to be able to justify their actions to a broader audience, an audience not primarily concerned with financial return on investment. Colonized people had little power in the colonizing state, and colonial officials, business people, and settlers had little incentive to expose their own abuses. As a result, missionaries were often the main source of information about these abuses. When abuses hampered missionary interests, missionaries could unleash a powerful and persistent lobby to fight them. This missionary lobby helped force the early abolition of slavery and the early abolition and moderate use of forced labor in British colonies – relative to other European colonizers. This lobby also punished colonial officials for extra-legal and extreme violence. On several occasions, colonial officials who used extreme violence in the colonies lost their 61
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jobs and reputations because of the missionary lobby. On at least one occasion, the Tory’s lost control of the government because they used extreme violence in the colonies. Over time, this made colonial officials more reluctant to use extreme violence and thus created incentive for colonial officials to reach nonviolent compromises with indigenous elites. Religious liberty in British colonies and organizational forms brought in by missionaries also fostered the development of organizational civil society in the colonies.
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