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Churches and Social Issues in Twentieth-Century Britain$
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G. I. T. Machin

Print publication date: 1998

Print ISBN-13: 9780198217800

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198217800.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 17 June 2021

Churches and Social Policy, 1918–1939

Churches and Social Policy, 1918–1939

(p.24) 2 Churches and Social Policy, 1918–1939
Churches and Social Issues in Twentieth-Century Britain

G.I.T. Machin

Oxford University Press

Having won in the First World War, the Lloyd George Coalition in Britain wished also to win the peace — that is, to provide the much better social conditions which government ministers had extolled as the anticipated fruits of both armed and electoral victory. In a similar vein, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Randall Davidson, called for a ‘new birth’ in April 1918. But the highly indebted state of the country and depressing economic developments soon reduced these hopes. A brief postwar boom ended by late 1920, and was replaced by recession and rising unemployment. Many leaders of the country's Christian Churches advocated the improvement of social conditions and more equality in society by means of increased state intervention. But few of them took what still appeared to be the fairly extreme line of socialism — and far fewer supported the other extreme of fascism — in order to urge this development. Christians who wanted social reform through collectivism had little hope of gaining what they wished in the inter-war years.

Keywords:   Britain, social conditions, Randall Davidson, recession, unemployment, socialism, Christians, social reform, collectivism, Christian Churches

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