Quaker Studies


This paper examines why the evangelical revival became such an important issue for the Society of Friends in the early nineteenth century. The focus is on the conflict that evangelicalism aroused between 1835 and 1840 with the Beacon controversy and the resultant challenge to the concept of the inward light. The shifting attitudes of Quakers are situated in their contemporary world, in which fundamental changes were occurring in almost every sphere. The position is taken that the wider context of economic growth and political reform provoking social action contributed to evangelicalism making inroads into Quaker belief. The close-up image compares Quakers in Manchester and Kendal and looks at their reactions to the controversy. The wealth, reputation and upward mobility of many leading Quakers by the 1830s, gives credence to my view that evangelical belief and action for them justified their social standing in the eyes of God and man. This was in opposition to the belief in the authority of an unverifiable inward light which required a certain passivity and inaction.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.