The American Early Republic and Frontier Era History

Chapter 8 (Part 4) :: What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848 by Daniel Walker Howe

Response / Thought Quotes

  • “The Puritan-pietistic religious tradition so powerful in America had perpetuated and disseminated millennialism in the United States. Catholic rejection of the doctrine of the millennium affected the attitude of the church in America in at least two ways. It meant that the church lacked the millennial sense of urgency, widespread among evangelical Protestants, to remake the world and fit it for Christ’s return; it also meant that Catholics did not share in the belief that the United States had a special role, analogous to that of ancient Israel , as an example of divine providence to the rest of the world. While Protestant churches synthesized Christianity with the Enlightenment’s science, individual rights, and faith in progress, the nineteenth-century Church of Rome did not. In an age when Americans’ belief in progress was typically associated with millennial hopes, Catholic doctrine accepted neither the idea of secular progress nor the millennium.”
  • “Nat Turner listened to “the Spirit that spoke to the prophets in former days” and interpreted signs of divinity in the world around him. Like Isaiah, he heard the Spirit tell him to “proclaim liberty to the captives” and “the day of vengeance of our God” (Isaiah 61: 1– 2). Turner decided that “the great day of judgment was at hand,” when he would become God’s instrument.”
  • “Conservatives conceded that the state would be better off with fewer slaves and a more industrial-commercial economy, but argued that the domestic slave trade would suffice to drain off surplus black laborers from Virginia to the trans-Appalachian Southwest, without legislative intervention.”

Thought Questions

  • Explain and Expand: “Alone among major religious denominations in the antebellum United States, the Roman Catholic Church did not teach the doctrine of the millennium.”
  • Explain and Expand: “When a politically conservative association in the Austrian Empire set about raising funds to proselytize for Catholicism in the United States, it set off alarm bells among certain American evangelicals.”
  • Explain and Expand: “Morse’s strident warnings were among the earliest expressions of a movement known as nativism that would become more powerful after Catholic immigration increased during the late 1840s.”
  • Explain and Expand: “In the wee hours of Monday, August 22, 1831, a trusted family slave climbed through the window of his master’s house and unbarred the door for six companions armed with axes.”
  • Explain and Expand: “Turner’s Uprising provoked a huge debate among white Virginians over what lessons they should draw from it.”
  • Explain and Expand: “A Calhoun Democrat, like his Carolina mentor he had long backed public funding for internal improvements.”

Primary Sources

Articles and Resources

Further Reading

The American Early Republic and Frontier Era History

Chapter 8 (Part 3) :: What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848 by Daniel Walker Howe

Response / Thought Quotes

  • “True or not, the Book of Mormon is a powerful epic written on a grand scale with a host of characters, a narrative of human struggle and conflict, of divine intervention, heroic good and atrocious evil, of prophecy, morality, and law. Its narrative structure is complex. The idiom is that of the King James Version, which most Americans assumed to be appropriate for a divine revelation.”
  • “He continued to receive revelations from God (sometimes using a seer-stone) that amplified what was in the Book of Mormon and provided guidance to the faithful; these the LDS Church has codified as their Doctrine and Covenants.”
  • “They tended to be people of New England birth or heritage, carrying the cultural baggage of folk Puritanism (as distinguished from Calvinist theology): communalism, chiliasm, identification with ancient Israel, and the practice of magic. Often they had been involved in other Christian restorationist movements, but no particular denominational background predominated. The prophet and his followers perpetuated traditions of a culture, Richard Bushman explains, “in which the sacred and the profane intermingled and the Saints enjoyed supernatural gifts and powers as the frequent blessing of an interested God.””
  • “The Mormons did not passively await Christ’s millennial kingdom but worked to prepare for it. Their brand of premillennialism was as activist as any postmillennialism, and even more certain of a special millennial role for America.”
  • “His notorious order to the militia of October 27, 1838, reads: “The Mormons must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the State if necessary for the public peace.””
  • “The militia commander ordered Joseph Smith shot after a brief illegal court-martial, but the officer charged with the execution refused to carry it out. Turned over to the civil authorities, the prophet escaped custody five months later and joined his refugee people on the Illinois side of the Mississippi River. There they immediately turned their faith and talents to building up another new community, larger and more beautiful, which they named Nauvoo.”

Thought Questions

  • What is millennialism? What is restorationism?
  • What was the “burned-over district” of western New York state
  • Who was Joseph Smith Jr.?
  • Describe the founding of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during Smith’s leadership
  • Explain and Expand: “in 1831 the Saints moved into the Western Reserve area of northeastern Ohio, to a town called Kirtland.”
  • Explain and Expand: “For the next several years there would be two centers of Mormon settlement, one in Ohio and one in Missouri.”
  • Explain and Expand: “The speculation that American Indians constituted some of the Lost Tribes of Israel had been expressed by many writers over the years and was current in Smith’s milieu. Native Americans themselves sometimes endorsed the Lost Tribes theory of their origins.”
  • What was “the Word of Wisdom” and how did it impact the development of the latter day saints?
  • How did the economic crisis of 1837 impact the development of the latter day saints?
  • Describe the process that created the Mormon War of 1838?
  • Describe the events of the Mormon War of 1838
  • How was millennialism connected to the founding of the latter day saints?
  • In what ways did American “exceptionalism” impact the founding of the latter day saints?
  • In what ways did American “manifest destiny” impact the founding of the latter day saints?
  • Who was Alexander Campbell?
  • Who was Charles Finney?
  • Compare and Contrast: Charles Finney, Alexander Campbell and Joseph Smith Jr.
  • Compare and Contrast: Pre-millennialism and Post-millennialism
  • Explain and Expand: “premillennialism appealing to the disinherited of this world”

Primary Sources

Articles and Resources

Further Reading

 

The American Early Republic and Frontier Era History

Chapter 8 (Part 2) :: What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848 by Daniel Walker Howe

Response / Thought Quotes

  • “All contemporaries on both sides of the Atlantic saw him as an emissary of liberal values between New and Old Worlds; Americans regarded him as an agent of their international mission. The president had invited Lafayette in order to affirm his Monroe Doctrine’s defiance of the Holy Alliance and to celebrate his Era of Good Feelings. The event succeeded beyond his dreams.”
  • “Tocqueville was very quick to generalize from his experiences, and for all his insight, his interpretations have their limitations. In praising America’s strong traditions of local self-government, he seemed not to notice how often local democracy tyrannized individuals.”
  • “a man of violent temper and very moderate talents.”
  • “She criticized the United States for not living up to its ideals, in particular in its oppression of black people and in the “political nonexistence” of women.”
  • “She conceived an ambitious plan to make Cincinnati a more lively, cosmopolitan city by constructing a building something like a modern shopping mall plus cultural center and ballroom, which she called a “Bazaar.””
  • “Years later, Mark Twain would declare that “candid Mrs. Trollope” deserved American gratitude for her forthrightness. “She knew her subject well, and she set it forth fairly and squarely.” But his observation, made in Life on the Mississippi, was suppressed.”

Thought Questions

  • Explain and Expand: “Contemporaries viewed not only utopian communities but all America as an experimental society”
  • Compare and Contrast: 19th century American “exceptionalism” with varieties of 19th century European “exceptionalism”
  • In what ways was the visit of the Marquis de Lafayette symbolic of the age of “exceptionalism”
  • Who was Samuel F. B. Morse
  • Explain and Expand: “Foreign observers also often viewed the United States as an indicator of future developments in their own countries. The German philosopher Hegel called America “the land of the future” and predicted that “in the time to come, the center of world-historical importance will be revealed there.””
  • Explain and Expand: “What Tocqueville meant by “democracy” was not simply political (“ one man, one vote”) but broadly social: “equality of condition.””
  • In what ways did newspapers contribute to American “exceptionalism”
  • Explain and Expand: “Above all, Tocqueville recognized the crucial importance of America’s numerous and diverse voluntary associations.”
  • Who was Gustave de Beaumont?
  • Who was Harriet Martineau?
  • Who was Frances (Fanny) Wright?
  • Compare and Contrast: Frances Wright and Harriet Martineau
  • In what ways was communal experimentation connected to various forms of evangelical millennialism?
  • Who was Robert Owen?
  • Who was Frances Trollope?
  • Explain and Expand: “persuaded Parliament to make the Atlantic slave trade illegal”
  • Explain and Expand: “American opposition to slavery owed a good deal to encouragement from overseas.”
  • Who was Maria Weston Chapman?

Primary Sources

Articles and Resources

The American Early Republic and Frontier Era History

Chapter 8: Pursuing the Millennium (Parts 1-3) – What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848

Response / Thought Quotes

  • “We know— for God has told us— that there is a period of universal moral renovation approaching, and there is much in the aspect of Providence, which seems to indicate that our country is to have a prominent— may I not say— a principal instrumentality in the introduction of that period.”
  • “Progressive improvement in the condition of man is apparently the purpose of a superintending Providence,”
  • “The dim shadows of unborn nations… implore this country to fulfill the destiny to which she has been summoned by an all-wise Providence, and save a sinking world from temporal misery and eternal death.”
  • “While the postmillennial mainstream of American Protestantism identified the whole country as God’s new Israel and a model for the other nations, a host of sectarian movements proclaimed their own little communities as examples to mankind.”
  • “there is no adaptation of architecture to our wants and requirements; our houses are as little suited to our physical welfare, as our social laws are to our attractions and passions.”
  • “The interest aroused by communitarian social experiments in the United States on the eve of the industrial revolution revealed something about the mood and temper of the American public, its willingness to entertain a broad range of social and economic possibilities.”
  • “The tendency of American conditions, as well as the inclination of its people, was for diffusion rather than discipline, toward self-determination and away from supervision, however benign,”

Thought Questions

  • Explain and Expand: ““Many people shared John Quincy Adams’s view of America as the country where God would bring His plans for humanity to fulfillment. But the blueprints for realizing this providential destiny could be far bolder and more presumptuous than Henry Clay’s American System.”
  • Describe some of the ways Americans of all faiths (or lack of) expressed millennialism attitudes
  • Describe the basic belief of “post-millennialism” and how it impacted American religious life
  • In what ways was the millennialism of the early Republic related to Colonial Puritanism?
  • Describe the characteristics of the “Second Great Awakening”
  • Compare and Contrast: The “First” and “Second” Great Awakenings
  • Explain and Expand: The relationship between the Second Great Awakening and Post Millennialism
  • Compare and Contrast: America before and after the “Second” Great Awakening
  • In what ways was the “Second” Great Awakenings the conclusion of the “First” Great Awakening
  • What “concluded” at the end of the “Second” Great Awakening?
  • Who were the principle American leaders of the Second Great Awakening?
  • What were the civic goals of the leaders of the Second Great Awakening?
  • How were international affairs considered in a post millennial world view?
  • Describe the relationship between post millennialism and Slavery
  • Who was William Miller? Who were The Millerites?
  • What is Pre millennialism?
  • Compare and Contrast: Pre and Post millennialism from a civic perspective?
  • Describe the relationship between pre millennialism and Slavery
  • Describe the naval battle at Plattsburgh on Lake Champlain and its aftermath
  • Explain and Expand: “to turn his back on fashionable deism and join a Baptist church.”
  • Describe the beginnings of Adventism
  • Compare and Contrast: German Pietism with Lutheranism
  • React and Respond: “Sociological theory long held that persons attracted to millenarian causes would be the marginalized and despairing, looking for compensatory consolation.”
  • Describe American utopianism and communitarianism
  • Describe the relationship between millennialism and utopianism
  • Describe prominent examples of American communitarian societies
  • Who was Albert Brisbane and what was the Associationism of Albert Brisbane
  • Explain and Expand: “since children like to play in dirt, he reasoned, they should be the trash collectors.”
  • Explain and Expand: “In this pre-Marxian vision, socialism would be achieved without revolution or violence.”
  • Compare and Contrast: Socialism and Marxism in an American context
  • What made the Shakers distinct among millennialism focused sects
  • Explain and Expand: “primitive Christian church recorded in the New Testament (Acts 2: 44 and 4: 32).”
  • Explain and Expand: “Catholic monasticism, the oldest form of religious communal life, also appeared in a still predominantly Protestant America. The parallels with other communitarian movements were considerable, including celibacy, self-discipline, and the rejection of worldly selfishness for alternative lifestyles.”
  • React and Respond: “with women’s orders more prominent than men’s.”
  • Who was Elizabeth Seton
  • Explain and Expand: “The life of Mother Seton’s male counterpart, Isaac Hecker, illustrated the parallel between utopian communities and Catholic religious orders.”
  • Explain and Expand: “Both pre- and postmillennial Christians have typically been interested in the restoration of the Jews to the Holy Land”
  • Who was Isaac Mayer Wise
  • What was the significance of “The Confidence Man” by Herman Melville
  • Compare and Contrast: Perfectionism and Communitarianism
  • Affirm or Refute: “Most antebellum utopian communities were not fleeing the industrial revolution. Some (like Owenites and Associationists) explicitly endorsed it, while others (like Shakers and Perfectionists) seized the chance to make whatever use of it they could. The only communities that really did reject industrialization were two German Mennonite sects: the Amish, who had settled in Pennsylvania during colonial times, and the Dakota Hutterites, who came in the 1870s.”

Primary Sources

Articles and Resources

Further Reading

 

The American Early Republic and Frontier Era History

Chapter 7: The Innovators (Part 2) What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848 by Daniel Walker Howe

Response / Thought Quotes

  • “We have the wolf by the ears, and we can neither hold him, nor safely let him go.”
  • “Finley’s followers operated colonization as a voluntary fund-raising charity, while Mercer’s treated the cause as a political lobby.”
  • “In the next few years, the legislatures of Maryland, Kentucky , Tennessee, and six northern states followed Virginia’s example in endorsing colonization; so did the national governing bodies of the Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, and Episcopal denominations.”
  • “It would not be necessary to transport all black Americans to Africa; Clay advocated colonization as a way of reducing the black population in America to the point where the whites would not feel threatened by the prospect of emancipation.”
  • “Dear Sir, I now take this opportunity to inform you that I am in a land of liberty, in good health…. Since I have been in the Queens dominions I have been well contented, Yes well contented for Sure, man is as God intended he should be. That is, all are born free & equal. This is a wholesome law, not like the Southern laws which puts man made in the image of God, on level with brutes…. We have good schools, & all the colored population supplied with schools. My boy Edward who will be six years next January , is now reading, & I intend keeping him at school until he becomes a good scholar…. My wife and self are sitting by a good comfortable fire happy, knowing that there are none to molest [us] or make [us] afraid. God save Queen Victoria.”
  • “The campaign for the presidential election of 1828 lasted the whole four years of John Quincy Adams’s administration. Eventually defenders of the national administration started calling themselves “National” Republicans, while the supporters of the man who claimed the popular mandate called themselves “Democratic” Republicans, later simply “Democrats.” The terms came into use only very slowly.”
  • “What came to be called the National Republicanism of Adams and Clay represented a continuation of the new Republican nationalism that had arisen out of the experience of the War of 1812. The Democratic Republicans of Jackson, Van Buren, and the recently transformed Calhoun recruited the proslavery Radicals of William H. Crawford and embraced the state-rights tradition of Old Republicanism.”
  • “Old Hickory wrote a furious message to him preparing the way for a duel. Jackson’s friend Sam Houston managed to get the letter rephrased.”
  • “There was another aspect of the outcome, less often noticed by historians but no less important. The National Republican improvement program of planned economic development would have encouraged a diversified economy in place of reliance on the export of slave-grown agricultural staples. Its strong central government would have held long-term potential for helping the peaceful resolution of the slavery problem, perhaps in connection with some kind of colonization program, while weaning portions of the South, especially in the border states, away from plantation agriculture toward mixed farming, industry, and commerce.”

Thought Questions

  • Describe the African colonization movement
  • What were the principle white motivations behind the African colonization movement
  • What were the principle black motivations behind the African colonization movement
  • What were the principle white arguments against the African colonization movement
  • What were the principle black arguments against the African colonization movement
  • Describe the founding of Sierra Leone and Liberia
  • Explain and Expand: “The most common objection offered to emancipation in the South was that it would create a subordinate population who could neither be admitted to political participation nor any longer be effectively controlled.”
  • Who was Paul Coffe[e] and what was his significance regarding the African colonization movement
  • Who was Henry Clay and what was his role in the African colonization movement
  • Explain and Expand: “Clay saw colonization as a responsible middle ground between abolitionism and the defense of slavery as a positive good.”
  • Explain and Expand: “It would not be necessary to transport all black Americans to Africa; Clay advocated colonization as a way of reducing the black population in America to the point where the whites would not feel threatened by the prospect of emancipation.”
  • In what ways did the “Great Migration to the West” impact the African colonization movement
  • Why did Canada become a magnet for both free blacks and escaped / liberated slaves?
  • Describe Freemasonry during the early republic era?
  • Who was William Morgan and how was he related to the Freemason movement?
  • Explain and Expand: “Freemasonry, introduced into America from Britain in colonial times, had been an important force in the young republic.”
  • Describe the formation of the early republic (pre-Civil War era) Antimasonic movement
  • Explain and Expand: ” The Antimasons became the first third party in American history. Once organized as a political party, Antimasonry developed a political image and stands on other issues. The participants saw themselves as restoring moral order and transparent democracy, defending the little people against a secret cabal with ties to machine politics.”
  • What was the significance of: “Henry Clay’s hometown of Lexington , Kentucky, was a thriving commercial crossroads with a diversified economy.”
  • Describe the American System as envisioned by Clay and Adams
  • Explain and Expand: “Clay’s system was “American” in a triple sense.”
  • In what ways did the American System enhance sectional divisions?
  • Describe the role tariffs played in the American System and how this differed from American tariffs in the past
  • In what ways did the American System tariffs foreshadow tariffs and issues around them in the post-Civil War era?
  • What factors prevented the South from developing a textile industry?
  • Explain and Expand: “Van Buren’s Tariff of Abominations demonstrated how government intervention in the economy could be manipulated for political advantage.”
  • Describe the issues around and formation of “National” Republicans and “Democratic” Republicans
  • Describe the evolution of Jeffersonian Republican ideology to the “Democratic” Republican faction to the Democratic Party
  • Explain and Expand: “Each side embraced its own version of modernity.”
  • Describe the election of 1828
  • What role did Martin Van Buren play in the election of 1828
  • Explain and Expand: “between the planters of the South and the plain Republicans of the North.”
  • Describe the significance of: “Party attachment in former times furnished a complete antidote for sectional prejudices by producing counteracting feelings.”
  • Did Jackson’s victory constitute the coming of democracy to America?
  • Explain and Expand: “The vote displayed striking sectional characteristics. … The election of 1828 proved a pivotal one; it marked the end of one kind of politics and the beginning of another.”

Primary Sources

Articles and Resources

Further Reading

Chapter 7: The Improvers (Part 1: Sec I-III) :: What Hath God Wrought by Daniel Walker Howe

The American Early Republic and Frontier Era HistoryThought Questions

  • Describe the United States in 1826. What transformations had occurred since 1776?
  • Describe Continental Western Europe in 1826. What transformations had occurred since 1776?
  • Describe the British Empire in 1826. What transformations had occurred since 1776?

John Quincy Adams

  • Describe the Russian Empire in 1826. What transformations had occurred since 1776?
  • Compare and Contrast the transformations that occurred between 1776 and 1826 in Continental Western Europe, the British Empire, the Russian Empire and the United States
  • Explain and Expand: “Is it the Fourth?”
  • Explain and Expand: “Thomas Jefferson still survives”
  • Explain and Expand: “visible and palpable mark of Divine favor”
  • Who was Charles Carroll in 1776? Who was Charles Carroll in 1826?
  • Explain and Expand: “The deceased patriarchs had been obvious examples of the talent and virtue that the Founders believed should characterize leadership in a republic. But they were also examples of personal improvement.”
  • React and Respond: “Adams interpreted the Constitution as defining duties as well as rights. He had a positive rather than a negative conception of liberty; freedom properly exercised was not simply a limitation on authority but an empowering of human initiative.”

Louisa Adams

  • Describe the Presidency of John Quincy Adams
  • Politically and Culturally Compare and Contrast: John Adams with his son John Quincy Adams
  • Politically and Culturally Compare and Contrast: Abigail Adams with his son Louisa Adams
  • What was the “Era of Good Feelings” and how was it a 
  • transitional period in American History?
  • Describe the election of 1824
  • Explain and Expand: “The president’s vision of expanded American commerce did not stop at the water’s edge.”
  • Describe the vision John Quincy Adams sets forth in his First Annual Message (State of the Union Address)
  • Explain and Expand: “”The president had been trying to use patronage to win over critics rather than to reward friends, but his policy had not proved effective.”
  • What was the significance and symbolism of Adams’ “Report on Weights and Measures”?
  • Describe the evolution of Adams’ vision for the United States in his Annual Messages
  • Explain and Expand: “The president’s grand program for economic development was by no means the only serious challenge he faced.”
  • What challenges did the Adams’ administration face in foreign policy? How did the presence of Andrew Jackson impact these challenges?
  • What challenges did the Adams’ administration face in Indian Affairs? How did the presence of Andrew Jackson impact these challenges?
  • Explain and Expand: “
  • What was the Treaty of Córdoba?
  • How did Mexican independence impact the relationship between the United States and Spain?

Primary Sources

Articles and Resources

Further Reading

Week 10: What Hath God Wrought by Daniel Walker Howe Chapter 6: Overthrowing the Tyranny of Distance

 

Response / Thought Quotes

  • “He is one of the most unfit men I know of for such a place.” 
  • “Besides, Clay thought a military hero with a record of defying civilian authority a dangerously inappropriate choice for president.” 
  • ““the only reasonable and responsible one, the only one that could avert a long drawn-out battle leading to constitutional crisis.”” 
  • “No sooner was President Monroe reelected in 1820 than campaigning began for the election of 1824.” 
  • ““The Judas of the West has closed the contract and will receive the thirty pieces of silver. His end will be the same.”” 
  • “In the early twentieth century the National Road was extended east to Atlantic City and west to San Francisco and renamed Highway 40; later, portions of it were incorporated into Interstate.” 
  • “The joke ran that they could float on a heavy dew, and it was literally true that one of them could carry eighty passengers with forty tons of freight in two feet of water.” 
  • ““We have become the most careless, reckless, headlong people on the face of the earth. ‘Go ahead’ is our maxim and pass-word, and we do go ahead with a vengeance, regardless of consequences and indifferent to the value of human life .”” 
  • “On October 26, 1825, Governor DeWitt Clinton boarded the canal boat Seneca Chief in Lake Erie and arrived at Albany a week later, having been cheered in every town along the way . He then floated down the Hudson to New York harbor, where, surrounded by a flotilla of boats and ships of all kinds, he poured a keg of Lake Erie water into the Atlantic.” 
  • ““Of all the ways of travelling, the canal boat is the most absolutely prosaic.”” 
  • “In 1831, the French visitor Alexis de Tocqueville called the American Post Office a “great link between minds”that penetrated into “the heart of the wilderness”; in 1832, the German political theorist Francis Lieber called it “one of the most effective elements of civilization.””

Thought Questions

  • Explain and Expand: “In traditional society, the only items worth transporting long distances had been luxury goods , and information about the outside world had been one of the most precious luxuries of all. The transportation and communications revolutions made both goods and information broadly accessible. In doing so, they laid a foundation not only for widespread economic betterment and wider intellectual horizons but also for political democracy : in newspapers and magazines, in post offices, in nationwide movements to influence public opinion, and in mass political parties.” 
  • Explain and Expand: “To improve the means of communication, then , is to promote a real, positive, and practical liberty; it is to extend to all the members of the human family the power of traversing and turning to account the globe, which has been given to them as their patrimony; it is to increase the rights and privileges of the greatest number, as truly and as amply as could be done by electoral laws. The effect of the most perfect system of transportation is to reduce the distance not only between different places, but between different classes.” 

American Literature

Primary Sources

Further Reading

 

Week 9: What Hath God Wrought by Daniel Walker Howe Chapter 5: Awakenings of Religion

 

Response / Thought Quotes

  • “It was as dark a day as ever I saw. The injury done to the cause of Christ, as we then supposed, was irreparable. For several days I suffered what no tongue can tell for the best thing that ever happened to the State of Connecticut. It cut the churches loose from dependence on state support. It threw them wholly on their own resources and on God.” 
  • “The great aim of the Christian Church in its relation to the present life is not only to renew the individual man, but also to reform human society”
  • “Christians loyal to the theology of the Reformation believed such an appeal left too little role for divine initiative. Some of them reproached Finney for excessive emotionalism, as other revivalists have been reproached before and since.” 
  • “Both sides wanted to encourage revivals. The Finneyites agreed not to call their colleagues “cold,”“unconverted,” or “dead”; the other side consented not to call the Finneyites “heretics,”“enthusiasts,” or “mad.”” 
  • “A Methodist preacher in those days, when he felt that God had called him to preach, instead of hunting up a college or Biblical institute, hunted up a hard pony of a horse, and some traveling apparatus, and with his library always at hand, namely, Bible, Hymn Book, and [Methodist] Discipline, he started, and with a text that never wore out nor grew stale, he cried, “Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world.” In this way he went through storms of wind, hail, snow, and rain; climbed hills and mountains, traversed valleys, plunged through swamps, swam swollen streams, lay out all night, wet, weary, and hungry, held his horse by the bridle all night, or tied him to a limb, slept with his saddle blanket for a bed, his saddle or saddle-bags for his pillow, and his old big coat or blanket, if he had any, for a covering…. Under such circumstances, who among us would now say, “Here am I, Lord, send me?”
  • “Our final conclusion regarding all of these social results— good, bad, and questionable —is that in one sense they are only side effects of efforts that were ineffable and beyond mundane measuring, for the missionaries and church founders came above all to minister the consolations of religion— to bring word of amazing grace to wretched souls. In what measure they succeeded in that primary task God only knows.” 

Thought Questions

  • Who was Lyman Beecher and what influence did he and his family have on American political and religious life?
  • Describe the development of the separation of church and state in the early Republic?
  • Explain and Expand: “Any establishment of religion, even as democratic a religion as Yankee Congregationalism, violated the tenets of Jeffersonian Republicanism.” 
  • Why and in what ways did the religious divide in the Early Republic manifest in the Federalist Republican divide? 
  • Describe how Lyman Beecher symbolized the transition from New England Puritanism to Yankee Progressivism
  • Describe the emergence of temperance as a social and political issue in the Early Republic
  • Compare and Contrast Charles Finney and Jonathan Edwards
  • What was the “born again” experience as understood by Evangelicals in the Early Republic? How did this “born again” experience differ from the conversion experience of the Puritans and the “Inner Light” experience of Anabaptists and Pietists?
  • Compare and Contrast Evangelicals in the Early Republic with Anabaptists and Pietists. How did English and German backgrounds factor into their differences?
  • What common social themes and issues were common in Beecher’s fundamentalists and Finney’s evangelicals?
  • How did slavery impact American fundamentalists and evangelicals? 
  • How did slavery impact American Catholics generally and Irish immigrants particularly? 
  • How did slavery impact “high church” (Eastern Orthodox, Anglican) congregations in America? 
  • How did slavery impact “low church” (Primitive Baptists, Quakers, German Brethren, etc) in America?
  • In what ways did fundamentalism and evangelicalism impact denominations?
  • What were “Circuit Riders” and what impact did they have on American frontier communities? What services did they provide the frontier aside from their religious mission? What were “Camp Meetings” and “Brush Arbor Meetings”?
  • Describe the development of American Methodism? How did the name “Methodist” come into use?
  • Compare and Contrast the development, beliefs and practices of Baptists and Methodists in America
  • What role did George Whitfield and John Wesley have in the development of American Christianity?
  • Describe the rise of “free” black churches and denominations in America
  • Describe the “Second Great Awakening”. How is the label misleading? How is the label meaningful? 
  • What circumstances gave rise to the Second Great Awakening? 
  • What role did race and slavery play in the Second Great Awakening?
  • How did the Second Great Awakening highlight the differences between rural and urban America? 
  • What were the economic teachings associated with the Second Great Awakening? 
  • Compare and Contrast the “First” and “Second” Great Awakenings
  • What were the lasting impacts of the Second Great Awakening?
  • How did gender impact different denominations and sects in America? 
  • How did Quakers fit into the religious landscape of the Second Great Awakening?
  • In what ways did American life and circumstances begin to create a distinct “American Catholicism” in the early republic?
  • What role did Catholic Evangelicals play in the Second Great Awakening?
  • How were Jews in America impacted by the Second Great Awakening? 

Articles and References

Further Reading

Continue reading American Notes by Charles Dickens, Chapters 9 11

 

 

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