The Eighteenth-Century Atlantic World

David Ceri Jones*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The ‘Atlantic world’ linked Europe, the Americas and Africa; people, goods and ideas moved in vast numbers across the ocean, especially between Britain and North America. However, in much of North America Anglicanism struggled to establish a presence, and many-mainly Protestant-denominations took hold. This favoured evangelicalism, a popular movement which emerged in mainland Europe in the 1670s and swept America in the 1740s. Its leading preacher, George Whitefield, frequently crossed the Atlantic and addressed huge crowds. He also used a systematic letter-writing campaign and cheap publications to spread his message and develop a transatlantic community of supporters. He financed his mission partly through engagement with a commercial system built around the slave trade. Evangelical religion made little headway amongst Indigenous Americans, but plantation owners in the Caribbean and mainland colonies came to support the evangelization of the enslaved. Methodists were prominent in this work in the Caribbean, and the Baptists on the mainland. From the 1760s, tension between Britain and its North American colonies disrupted transatlantic relationships, but after American independence, popular religion flourished in a climate of religious freedom, and Methodism became a mass movement.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Companion to John Wesley
EditorsJoe Cunningham, Clive Murray Norris
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781000928198
ISBN (Print)9780367471675
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 2023


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