Vaudeville Revivalism

Margaret Lamberts Bendroth

in Fundamentalists in the City

Published in print July 2005 | ISBN: 9780195173901
Published online July 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780199835577 | DOI:

Series: Religion in America

  Vaudeville Revivalism

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Evangelist Billy Sunday’s arrival in Boston demonstrated both the ephemeral nature of urban revivals and their complex role in constructing fundamentalist resistance. Dubbed the “Vaudeville revivalist” by his critics, Sunday’s moralistic, combative rhetoric quickly threatened to divide the city’s Protestants into pro- and anti-revivalist camps. But in the end, the Sunday campaign demonstrated the relative weakness of evangelicals in Boston — a prohibition vote in the midst of the campaign went down in defeat — and the relative resilience of liberal Protestants, as the city’s Unitarians launched a vigorous revival of their own in the wake of Sunday’s departure.

Keywords: Prohibition; Unitarians; Vaudeville; symbolic politics; urban revival

Chapter.  6666 words. 

Subjects: Christianity

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