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REVISITING TORONTO THE GOOD : VIOLENCE, RELIGION AND CULTURE IN A LATE VICTORIAN CITY

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Revisiting "Toronto the Good" transports the reader into the largely forgotten culture of late nineteenth-century Toronto, which was awash with a British evangelical Protestant sensibility. Based on an analysis of 1880-1899 homicide rates
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  REVISIING “ORONO HE GOOD”:VIOLENCE, RELIGION AND CULURE IN A LAE VICORIAN CIY    Abstract  Among historians of crime it is now almost universally held that, in  Western contexts, interpersonal violence declined precipitously from the medieval period until the 1960s when it rapidly rose. Tis sharp decline follows the path of a U-shaped graph first identified by ed Robert Gurr in 1981, following the theorizing of Norbert Elias and now popularized by Steven Pinker. Tis dissertation demonstrates the sharp decline in interpersonal violence in oronto from 1880-1899 and argues that it is tightly correlated to the rise of a British evangelical Protestant (BEP) expression. For the decade from 1880-1889 I calculated the homicide rate at 2.6 per 100,000, while for 1890-1899 it dropped to 1.5 per 100,000. Historically, especially given the absence of trauma medicine, these are very low homicide rates. While recognizing that correlation does not conclusively prove causation, I use standard theory regarding causal inference to argue that communal BEP discourses and practices channelled the behavior of young males in nonviolent directions across oronto’s culture as a whole. Analysis of the Central Prison register for 1874-1889 demonstrates that BEP males listed as residents of oronto were severely underrepresented for a range of offences that varied from drunkenness, to petty theft, to physical assault. Although class was a factor, I argue that religious ideology is the critical consideration in explaining the relative absence of BEP males in Central Prison, confirming previous studies by Oliver and by Darroch and Soltow. Tis absence appears even more pronouncedly when prisoners from oronto are separated out and more pronouncedly still when violent offences are disaggregated. While declining violence in late Victorian oronto was part of a process that had been underway for centuries in western societies, the rise of the BEP movement in oronto shows how particular influence affected it. Te cultural configuration of oronto, which was saturated by BEP religion, coincide with very low levels of interpersonal violence as measured by homicide rates and thus points to the importance of ideology in shaping behaviour.  REVISIING “ORONO HE GOOD”:VIOLENCE, RELIGION AND CULURE IN A LAE VICORIAN CIY   William D. Reimer G  C. 󰀲󰀰󰀱󰀶  Revisiting oronto the Good: Homicide Rates, Religion, and Culture in a Late Victorian City Copyright © 2016 William D. Reimer E-mail: breimer074@gmail.comPublished 2016 by Gerhard & Company 212 Kingston Row  Winnipeg, MB R2M 04  All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior  written permission of the author, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.ISBN 978-1-57383-524-4Cataloguing-in-Publication information is on file at Library and Archives Canada.Cover Image: Bird’s-eye view, looking north from harbour to north of Bloor St. and some points beyond, from Humber R. on the west to Victoria Park  Ave. on the east. Published by: Barclay, Clark & Co. Lithographers, 1893. Image courtesy oronto Public Library.  For Dorcas,my love 
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