Author: William R. Sutton
Publisher: Penn State Press
Release Date: 2010-11-01
When industrialization swept through American society in the nineteenth century, it brought with it turmoil for skilled artisans. Changes in technology and work offered unprecedented opportunity for some, but the deskilling of craft and the rise of factory work meant dislocation for others. Journeymen for Jesus explores how the artisan community in one city, Baltimore, responded to these life-changing developments during the years of the early republic. Baltimore in the Jacksonian years (1820s and 1830s) was America's third largest city. Its unions rivaled those of New York and Philadelphia in organization and militancy, and it was also a stronghold of evangelical Methodism. These circumstances created a powerful mix at a time when workers were confronting the negative effects of industrialism. Many of them found within Methodism and its populist spirituality an empowering force that inspired their refusal to accept dependency and second-class citizenship. Historians often portray evangelical Protestantism as either a top-down means of social control or as a bottom-up process that created passive workers. Sutton, however, reveals a populist evangelicalism that undergirded the producer tradition dominant among those supportive of trade union goals. Producers were not socialists or social democrats, but they were anticapitalist and reform-minded. In populist evangelicalism they discovered a potent language and ethic for their discontent. Journeymen for Jesus presents a rich and unromanticized portrait of artisan culture in early America. In the process, it adds to our understanding of the class tensions present in Jacksonian America.
Author: J. Gordon Melton
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
Release Date: 2007-01-01
A Will to Choose surveys the first century of African American Methodism from its emergence in the 1860s through the changes wrought by the Civil War. From the beginning of Methodism in the United States, African Americans appropriated Methodism, helped transform it from a revitalization movement into an evangelical church, and integrated it into their struggle for liberation and wholeness.
Author: Charity R. Carney
Publisher: LSU Press
Release Date: 2011-11-21
In Ministers and Masters Charity R. Carney presents a thorough account of the way in which Methodist preachers constructed their own concept of masculinity within -- and at times in defiance of -- the constraints of southern honor culture of the early nineteenth century. By focusing on this unique subgroup of southern men, the book explores often-debated concepts like southern honor and patriarchy in a new way. Carney analyzes Methodist preachers both involved with and separate from mainstream southern society, and notes whether they served as itinerants -- venturing into rural towns -- or remained in city churches to witness to an urban population. Either way, they looked, spoke, and acted like outsiders, refusing to drink, swear, dance, duel, or even dress like other white southern men. Creating a separate space in which to minister to southern men, women, and children, oftentimes converting a dancehall floor into a pulpit, they raised the ire of non- Methodists around them. Carney shows how understanding these distinct and often defiant stances provides an invaluable window into antebellum society and also the variety of masculinity standards within that culture. In Ministers and Masters, Carney uses ministers' stories to elucidate notions of secular sinfulness and heroic Methodist leadership, explores contradictory ideas of spiritual equality and racial hierarchy, and builds a complex narrative that shows how numerous ministers both rejected and adopted concepts of southern mastery. Torn between convention and conviction, Methodist preachers created one of the many "Souths" that existed in the nineteenth century and added another dimension to the well-documented culture of antebellum society.
Author: Charles F. Irons
Publisher: Univ of North Carolina Press
Release Date: 2009-11-30
In the colonial and antebellum South, black and white evangelicals frequently prayed, sang, and worshipped together. Even though white evangelicals claimed spiritual fellowship with those of African descent, they nonetheless emerged as the most effective defenders of race-based slavery. As Charles Irons persuasively argues, white evangelicals' ideas about slavery grew directly out of their interactions with black evangelicals. Set in Virginia, the largest slaveholding state and the hearth of the southern evangelical movement, this book draws from church records, denominational newspapers, slave narratives, and private letters and diaries to illuminate the dynamic relationship between whites and blacks within the evangelical fold. Irons reveals that when whites theorized about their moral responsibilities toward slaves, they thought first of their relationships with bondmen in their own churches. Thus, African American evangelicals inadvertently shaped the nature of the proslavery argument. When they chose which churches to join, used the procedures set up for church discipline, rejected colonization, or built quasi-independent congregations, for example, black churchgoers spurred their white coreligionists to further develop the religious defense of slavery.