This is the only book that addresses the relations between religion, Protestant missions, and empire building, linking together all three fields of study by taking as its starting point the early eighteenth century Anglican initiatives in colonial North America and the Caribbean. It considers how the early societies of the 1790s built on this inheritance, and extended their own interests to the Pacific, India, the Far East, and Africa. Fluctuations in the vigor and commitment of the missions, changing missionary theologies, and the emergence of alternative missionary strategies, are all examined for their impact on imperial expansion. Other themes include the international character of the missionary movement, Christianity's encounter with Islam, and major figures such as David Livingstone, the state and politics, and humanitarianism, all of which are viewed in a fresh light.
"Porter is one of very few writers on the missionary movement who combines a secure grasp of the various dimensions of the imperial context with a recognition that the theological preoccupations of the missionaries and their supporters need to be taken seriously. It will appeal to both specialists and students alike."--Brian Stanley, University of Cambridge