Chapter

Elijah Pierson

Paul E. Johnson and Sean Wilentz

in The Kingdom of Matthias

Published in print October 1995 | ISBN: 9780195098358
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199854134 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195098358.003.0002
Elijah Pierson

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This chapter discusses in detail the life of Elijah Pierson, who was one of New York's best-known religious reformers in the 1820s and who helped inaugurate the Sabbatarian campaign, the key evangelical political initiative of the day. It notes that Pierson gained special notice as a tireless worker in the Finneyites' efforts to reclaim the souls of the city's prostitutes. The chapter describes the married life of Elijah with his wife Sarah as a paragon of the loving, prayerful domesticity that middle-class evangelicals were inventing for themselves. It was the joy of romantic union with Sarah that propelled Elijah into a life of missions and perfectionistic reform. The chapter observes that it was Sarah's death that deranged his faith and made him an unlikely member in the cult of Matthias.

Keywords: Elijah Pierson; religious reformer; Sabbatarian campaign; Finneyites; Sarah; Matthias

Chapter.  11224 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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