From Cultural Wars to the Crisis of Humanity: Moral Movements in the Modern Age

Part of the Palgrave Studies in the History of Social Movements book series (PSHSM)


The global history of moral movements in the Modern Age encompasses diverse historical agents, social practices and narratives across the world. Moral movements in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries emerged from different cultural, regional and political backgrounds in the Western and non-Western worlds. The heterogeneity of these movements becomes most evident, when considering the different semantic connotations associated with ‘moral’ actions: Most actions of social movements engaged in improving living conditions on moral terms attempted to combat ‘moral decay’, even ‘vice’.Very often moral organizations strived for inner improvement. The range of historical terms under which those associations sailed, indicate that the intention to morally improve society was deeply embedded in the religious debates. Through their actions these associations operated within different arenas, including the improvement of animal rights, working conditions and heathen souls. In other words, their action was prevalently interwoven with religious agendas.


Nineteenth Century Slave Trade Missionary Organization Transnational Network Historical Agent 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Historical Institute, University of HagenHagenGermany

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