Empire, religion and national identity: Scottish Christian imperialism in the 19th and early 20th centuries
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This thesis examines the connection between participation in the British empire and constructions of Scottish national identity, through investigating the activities of civil society organisations in Scotland, in particular missionary societies and the Presbyterian churches in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Though empire is commonly thought to have had a significant impact on Scots' adoption of a British identity. The process of how representations of empire were transmitted and understood at home has been little explored. Similarly, religion is thought to have played an important role in supporting a sense of Scottish identity. but this theme has also been little explored. This thesis, then, examines evidence of civil society activity related to empire, including philanthropic and religious, learned and scientific, and imperial propagandist activities. In order to elucidate how empire was understood at home through the engagement with empire by civil society organisations. Of these forms of organisation. missionary societies and the churches were the most important in mediating an understanding of empire. The pattern of the growth and development of the movement in support of foreign missions is described and analysed, indicating its longevity, its typical functions and membership, and demonstrating both its middle class leadership and the active participation of women. Analysis of missionar) literature of a variety of types shows that dominant discourses of religion, race. gender and class produced iconic representations of the missionary experience which reflected the values of middle class Scots. The analysis also demonstrates both that representations of Scottish national identity were privileged over those of a British identity, but that these were complementary rather than being seen as in opposition to each other. Through examining the public profile of the missionary enterprise in the secular press it is shown that these representations were appropriated in the secular sphere to represent a specific Scottish contribution to empire. The thesis concludes that the missionary experience of empire. embedded as it was in the institutional life of the Presbyterian churches, had the capacity to generate representations and symbols of Scottish national identity which were widely endorsed in both religious and secular spheres in the age of high imperialism.