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date: 22 January 2019

Abstract and Keywords

John Henry Newman was not a politician. Throughout his life he preferred the spiritual to the temporal. This tendency became even more pronounced after his conversion to Roman Catholicism, and his concomitant recognition that his ideal of a theocratic polity was now unattainable. But Newman was also consistently engaged with and in matters that might properly be considered political. As an Anglican, he was personally, politically, and practically interested in the condition of the poor, the dangers of industrialization, and the creation of a political order that was in accord with God’s plan as he and his fellow Tractarians understood it. As a Catholic he retained a citizen’s interest in political life, and was moved by patriotism to mount a sustained defence of the British constitution in the wake of the inefficiencies and incompetencies revealed by the Crimean War. He was close to a number of front-rank politicians, mostly associated with the Liberal Party. His educational initiatives were in part designed to produce an educated Catholic elite that could participate in political life. He was adamant that Roman Catholics could be good citizens, whatever the implications of the First Vatican Council. Above all, Newman was a patriot who worried about his country and gave significant thought to how it should be governed.

Keywords: British constitution, Conservative Party, Liberal Party, Richard Hurrell Froude, Oxford Movement, E. B. Pusey, John Keble, William Gladstone, tories, Tractarians

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