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religion in the 1800s in america

The coalition behind this “benevolent empire” lasted until the late 1830s, when it was battered and overwhelmed by economic and political forces. Most of them traveled by covered wagon or pulled a handcart and walked across the plains, a journey that took between 75 and 95 days on average. (2020). Religion in the New World exploded into the land with the colonization of thousands of immigrants. The Washington Intelligencer published George Baxter’s favorable account in 1802: On my way to Kentucky, I was informed by settlers on the road, that the character of Kentucky travellers was entirely changed; and that they were now as remarkable for sobriety as they had formerly been for dissoluteness and immorality. The Methodist preacher was an ordinary person who had been raised up from a class and had proven his dedication and abilities before a conference of fellow itinerants. Many believers regarded such disinterested behavior as a sign that unity within Christendom—an essential if elusive prerequisite for the ultimate triumph of the universal Church—was at last within reach. In that respect, the evolution of New Harmony was somewhat analogous to the drift of antebellum religion overall. The early 1800s were a time of optimism and hope. For example, during 1831–1832 the post office in Jacksonville, Illinois, received 133 periodicals, 42 of which were religious journals. The self-sacrifice of good Catholic parents and religious brothers and sisters who labored for little, under a vow of poverty, made the Catholic school system possible. Finney’s conviction that people chose the way of Christ and the way of holy living—that “perfection” meant the potential for unlimited moral improvement—had both sacred and secular implications. The Eastern denominations may have supplied the educators, but Western people signed up with other communions. The numbers substantiated Methodism’s appeal, and competing churches ruefully acknowledged the legendary speed with which Methodism advanced into every new territory. Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Among the most famous revivals were those led by Charles Grandison Finney in Rochester, New York, during the winter of 1830-1831. Fears of corruption led conservative Presbyterians to question the benefits of all interdenominational programs and set the stage for a later division. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list. The first Africans who arrived on North American shores brought their own religious worldviews with them…, MORMONS Inspired and prodded by widespread humanitarian campaigns in Great Britain, an “evangelical united front” of voluntary associations sprang up to tackle such issues as temperance, prostitution, prison conditions, slavery, and women’s rights. Church attendance and membership remained discouraging, and the situation seemed to call into question the efficacy of revivalism itself. Evangelizing wherever there were people, he would gather converts into classes to meet, read the Bible, and keep one another out of sin’s reach until his return. Even so, it is likely that membership numbers did not tell the complete story of either churchgoing or patterns of belief. Under the umbrella of United States possession, the Catholic hierarchy embraced the region but could do little more than assert administrative control, given the dearth of priests. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. The domestic mission drive was spearheaded primarily by the American Home Missionary Society (AMHS), founded in 1826. Particularly in the Trans-Appalachian West, Baptists remained committed to local control. Churches in the Expanding West. The Western religious experience during the first decades of the nineteenth century was thus an addendum to the revolutionary story, as Euro-Americans tested certain radical implications of freedom in matters of faith—such as the extent of tolerance in a regimen of religious liberty and the proper means to a harmonious society. Although the Presbyterians led in the educational invasion of the Old Northwest states, they could claim less than 250,000 members in 1840. Even so, by the close of the antebellum age, pluralism had emerged as a distinguishing trait of religion in the Trans-Appalachian West. by Sam Blumenfeld October 18, 2012. Brigham Young assumed the leadership of the official church, and from 1846 to 1848 he guided some twelve thousand Latter-Day Saints across Iowa and then a thousand miles to the Salt Lake valley. the concentration of Christians was being spread out and diluted because of all the new religions being introduced into America History.com says that the Irish "experienced discrimination for their religious beliefs." Pioneer Jews served as community founders and organizers alongside gentiles, and they frequently held public office, though not significantly represented in the electorate. At the turn of the century the “uninhabited” frontier—though home to some 120,000 Native Americans—was the area between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River. The movement embodied a wide range of…, Congregationalism Religion in America in the 1800s Colonial Religions Puritans came to America for religious freedom Established theocracy Not The Methodists in particular embraced the camp meeting and, in their usual methodical way, stylized it until it was a carefully structured event by the 1830s. During prolonged church services filled with impassioned sermons and prayers, McGready encouraged an emotional response from his listeners. Cumberland Schism. experiment. “ Art and Society of the New Republic, 1776–1800 .” (October 2004) By the Civil War, religion in the Trans-Appalachian West had assumed many features of its Eastern fountainhead and was affected by the same trends, but it was never a replica. The History of Religions: Essays in Methodology by Mircea Eliade and Joseph M. Kitagawa (eds.) In an attempt to secure their position, the Mormons created a state they called “Deseret.” The federal government instead designated the area a territory in the Compromise of 1850. American Eras. Churches in the Expanding West. Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA). The structure of the church allowed local control through the elders, who handled the daily affairs of the congregation, while the regional presbyteries and synods ensured that the scattered flocks maintained order and orthodoxy. Each type of Western society—the boom towns of the Gold Rush, the gradually expanding territorial settlements, the maturing communities in older regions—had its own religious character. Over the years conservative Presbyterians, known as the Old School, had protested the liberal policies of the New School majority, but to no avail. Tobin, Declan. Plan of Union. Meanwhile, in 1834 an alarming number of Lane Seminary students, including future abolitionist-firebrand Theodore Weld, decided to attend Oberlin because there they would be able to take a stronger stance against slavery. In terms of religious expression, the common language was evangelical Protestantism, operating within a voluntarist and pluralist framework. Traditional Native American ceremonial ways can vary widely, and are based on the differing histories and beliefs of individual tribes, clans and bands. One common image of gold-rush California depicted it as a breeding ground of a creeping corruption that could infect the rest of the country. The circuit rider would journey into the wilds, close on the heels of the pioneers. In the East a new wave of revivals addressed urban anxieties in particular: the doubts and fears accompanying rapid economic growth, changing work patterns, widening gaps within society based on wealth, and incredible immigration. Overall, what dominated in the Protestant West was the “democratization” of American Christianity. The Presbyterians, the first to enjoy the harvest of the camp meeting, were also the first to suffer schism. By 1850 the census recorded 961,000 Irish in the United States, with 200,000 immigrating in that year alone. Indians responded variously to religious representatives: utilitarian curiosity over a potential new source of power, theological critique, adaptation, conversion, and/or nativist countermovement. The potato blight of the early 1840s turned the Irish departure from their homeland into panicked flight. Methodism had originated as a reform movement within the Church of England, but with American independence, the Methodist Episcopal Church had ventured out as a distinct denomination. In 1840 Mormons began to construct an impressive “New Jerusalem” in Illinois, but success did not bring acceptance from nonbelievers. The most universal consequence of the missionary impulse for native peoples was factionalism within communities, as Indians individually and corporately struggled to comprehend within a religious framework the changes provoked by westward-expanding settlements. Facing opposition from more-traditional Presbyterians, the revivalists affiliated as the Cumberland Presbytery, but the Synod of Kentucky refused recognition. In southern California, Hispano-Catholicism did not surrender so easily, though communicants had to battle the disciplinary bent of their bishop, who tried to weed out folk practices and “corrupt Catholicism.” In the view of recent historians, adopting a Pacific Coast vantage point in American religious history can suggest an alternative to the usual model of a Westward march of religious institutions and beliefs from the Atlantic seaboard. The revival continued for five emotion-charged days. The Free Methodist Church formed at Pe… During the religious reformation, preachers gave lively, passionate speeches. Disagreements sometimes arose between preachers about which doctrines were correct. Through the AMHS, New England religious and cultural influences reached beyond the Mississippi to Western settlements. ." At the turn of the century the strength of revival currents had fostered interdenominational cooperation. At the Catholic Church’s first American plenary council in 1852, the record revealed 1.6 million Catholics but only 1,800 priests to serve its 1,600 churches and mission stations. In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. The generation coming of age in the early republic felt keenly the burden of the revolutionary legacy, and the uncertainty expressed in the common reference to “the American experiment” was no euphemism. The area around Rochester, New York, was so inflamed by revivals that it became known as the “burnedover district.” Once again, revived Easterners turned their eyes to the West in missionary zeal, but with altered perception. The evangelical thrust to Native America was an important manifestation of religious aspirations for the West in the first half of the nineteenth century. The best source to consult for the South is The Protestant Temperament , because Greven’s examples of “genteel” Americans are largely drawn from Virginia Anglicans. The Methodist church, for example, split into Northern and Southern branches in 1844, over the issue of excluding slaveholders from the ranks of preachers. Genevieve Slomski As many as 20,000 people would gather at “camps” to listen. ." Primary documents tracing themes in the long, complex story of religion and politics in America More. Retrieved from https://www.americanhistoryforkids.com/the-reform-of-religion/, Kids Facts about American Religious Reform in The 1800's, History of the United States Political Parties. Muslim slave… You may cut-and-paste the below MLA and APA citation examples: Declan, Tobin. " To ensure connection with the larger Methodist fellowship, the circuit membership assembled quarterly for a “refreshing” time of communion and witness. Yet the diversity of dialects within evangelicalism in the West exposed contradictory currents within antebellum society as a whole: interdenominationalism and schism, individualism and communitarianism, postmillennial optimism and premillennial pessimism. Shared dedication to a cause took precedence over denominational differences, which again seemed to augur the idealistic possibilities for the nation’s future under Christian influence. As the decades passed, some came to view Cane Ridge as an uncontrolled explosion. These acquisitions, combined with Texas state hood in 1845, presented the Catholic Church with a Southwestern population of nominal Catholics, possibly 25,000 in New Mexico and 10,000 in Texas, as well as the remnants of the Franciscan mission system in California. Despite the proliferation of options, the census recorded the “unchurched” population (meaning those who did not indicate a denominational preference) at about 60 percent. The relationship in matters of faith remained symbiotic, for there was a persistent sense that the West, in its ever-shifting definition, represented the potential redemption of the East and of the nation. These meeting houses became bigger and much less crude as the population grew after the 1660s. Their objectives were two-fold: to prevent barbarism from overtaking the new and unchurched communities and to bring the Native Americans into the protecting fold of Christian civilization. Lyman Beecher’s Plea for the West, in fact, appended a long expose of the great Catholic conspiracy to conquer the Western region. A number of class readings describe this process and the religious forms that resulted. The popularity of religious journals spoke to their commitments despite the scorn of New Englanders. To Anglo-Americans in the nineteenth century the “ West ” was a migratory concept, continually being relocated as the next geographical region beyond white settlement. The religious influence of the Union was formidable since its teachers were essentially missionaries and its instructional materials were mostly Bible stories. Blacks had also responded to California’s siren call, as fortune seekers and as slaves accompanying masters. Baptist, Methodist, and Presbyterian ministers joined forces to evangelize the masses, and the air was filled with exhortation, hymn singing, and wailing. During the 1980s and 1990s, however, as the field of American religious history expanded beyond a focus on white Protestants, women’s historians began to recover the stories of African-American, Native American, Asian American and Latina women, and they also published important works on women in American Catholicism, Judaism, Mormonism, Spiritualism, Shakerism, and New Thought. Religion was one of the first concepts to spark the desires of people from other countries to emigrate to the new lands. Consequently, both denominations suffered a dearth of ministers, and both were hamstrung in their ability to serve the communities quickly forming in western New York and the Ohio River valley. But evidently a new impetus was given to the work of God, and many, very many, will have cause to bless God forever for this revival of religion throughout the length and breadth of our Zion. In 1843 Turner received a reply from a group of students at Andover Seminary. The Rappite community, now numbering about seven hundred, quickly became the largest and most impressive town in the territory. Mormonism. By the 1830s many Protestant leaders regarded Roman Catholicism as a clear threat to the American republic. (In fact, this shift in attitude echoed the debate over “Christianization or civilization” of the Native Americans.) Beecher’s denomination was not the one sweeping the West, yet he emerged as the spokesman for the West’s role in the nation’s destiny, and, given his own profession, he visualized both the role and the destiny in religious terms. The religion of the new American republic was evangelicalism, which, between 1800 and the Civil War, was the "grand absorbing theme" of American religious life. A Christian West, however, promised not only a harvest of souls but also a pristine environment in which virtue and godliness might become a beacon to the jaded, older states. Under the Plan of Union in 1801, the two groups allowed the creation of joint churches, with the minister and polity to be chosen by the majority. The spontaneous emergence of Baptist churches in newly settled areas distinguished the denomination from other groups. Free will thus supplanted predestination. For the Presbyterians and Baptists, policies directly related to the West triggered division. A Presbyterian missionary reported to the society that “Campbellism is the great curse of the West—more destructive and more injurious to the cause of religion than avowed Infidelity itself.” Church adherence may best illustrate the reaction of the West to being civilized by the East. In the early nineteenth century the United States became home to a number of communitarian experiments, Utopian as well as millenarian. New Harmony was a model of agricultural and manufacturing productivity, with woolen and saw mills and flourishing vineyards and orchards. Answer: Before the Revolutionary War, most people were Quakers, Anglicans, or Congregationalists (descended from the Puritans). (The Congregational Union of Canada no longer exists as a separate entity. July 22, 1620 Under the leadership of John Robinson, English Separatists began to emigrate to North America - eventually, they came to be known as the Pilgrims. Pushed relentlessly from place to place by opponents, the church attracted increasing numbers of adherents, apparently answering the longings of many for reassurance and purpose in troubled times. The community owned twenty thousand acres of land and 180 brick, frame, and log buildings—churches, shops, granaries, mills, factories, barns, stables, and houses. Its ministers were also subject to less-rigid educational demands. Without the civilizing presence of churches and the consolations of religion, the vulnerable communities might become hotbeds of immorality and lawlessness. 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