Signs of the Times: 1843

Joan D. Hedrick

in Harriet Beecher Stowe

Published in print July 1995 | ISBN: 9780195096392
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199854288 | DOI:
Signs of the Times: 1843

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The widely publicized predictions of William Miller increased the millennial expectation. It was, to take the title of a millennialist newspaper, one of the Signs of the Times. Miller's preaching fell on fertile soil and released energies that mushroomed out of control. For George Beecher, who veered between strenuous attempts at spiritual perfection and plunges into fits of depression, it was to prove too much to bear. The difficult path he trod was both example and warning to his sister Harriet Beecher Stowe, who was drawn into the vortex of perfectionist striving. Miller's predictions were publicized widely in the Boston area while Harriet Beecher Stowe was in the East arranging for the publication of The Mayflower. Harriet had written letters of religious import before, but never one of such personal intensity. The pieces Harriet wrote for the New-York Evangelist during this period reveal her preoccupation with perfection and final judgment.

Keywords: William Miller; Signs of the Times; George Beecher; Harriet Beecher Stowe; perfection; final judgment; predictions

Chapter.  8167 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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