The Standing Order's Corporate Vision 1783–1795

Jonathan D. Sassi

in A Republic of Righteousness

Published in print February 2002 | ISBN: 9780195129892
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199834624 | DOI:
The Standing Order's Corporate Vision 1783–1795

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During the 1780s and 1790s, Congregationalism predominated on the religious landscape of southern New England. Compared to other denominations, the Congregationalists enjoyed a tax‐supported religious establishment in Massachusetts and Connecticut, large numbers of churches and clergymen, influence with the political and social elite, and ministerial associations that enabled coordinated action. Given their prevailing public position, Congregational clergymen articulated a rich social ideology that centered on the role of divine Providence in communal affairs. The clergy's social discourse borrowed from both covenant theology and classical republicanism, but it constituted a distinct, providential synthesis. This providentialism enabled ministers to explain the successful outcome of the Revolutionary War and optimistically to project a millennial role for the new nation, although they could also use it to warn that sinfulness would invite God's wrath.

Keywords: Congregationalists; covenant theology; providentialism; religious establishment; republicanism

Chapter.  18158 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Christianity

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