A basic attitude of hostility directed against clerical power and civic privilege-especially that of the hierarchy-which in modern times has found expression at two levels, the religious and the political, and has been of two types, active and passive. Anticlericalism dates from the early days of institutionalized Christianity. Medieval anticlericalism was sporadic and most unorganized, but the Reformation stimulated its growth as Protestants assailed clerical abuses and proclaimed the priesthood of all believers. The impetus for modern political anticlericalism, however, came principally from the Enlightenment,* with its opposition to organized religion and its teaching that the clergy were a bulwark of political reaction. Thus nineteenth-century Europe saw numerous fierce battles between anticlericals and defenders of the traditional role of the established churches. This conflict intensified with the growth of liberalism and nationalism, especially in largely Roman Catholic countries like France, Italy, and Spain.
As a result of the Revolution of 1789 in France, the homeland of modern anticlericalism,
In the USA, anticlerical feeling among radical political thinkers and religious nonconformists expressed itself in the constitutional separation of church and state after 1787. A similar alliance led to the reforms of the 1830s in Britain which virtually disestablished the