Crusading for an American Protestant Commonwealth (1800–60)

Robert T. Handy

in A History of the Churches in the United States and Canada

Published in print January 1976 | ISBN: 9780198269106
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191683572 | DOI:

Series: Oxford History of the Christian Church

Crusading for an American Protestant Commonwealth (1800–60)

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In the years from 1800 to 1860, the population of North America increased from about 5 million to more than 31 million. The natural increase was supplemented by immigration, chiefly from the British Isles, Germany, and Scandinavia. The great migration to the west that had begun soon after the Revolution increased markedly. In the context of the expansion in territory and population, there occurred many dramatic and tumultuous events of American religious history, which led to realignments in the nation's religious forces. The revivalism of the Second Great Awakening brought great changes into American Protestant life — under its influence some denominations burgeoned into giants, others were brought into promising existence, while still other churches divided under the strain. The new measures and the voluntary societies, missionary, educational and reform impulses, and the churches and slavery are specifically described. A significant realignment of Protestant strength had taken place; the patterns of revivalism and its concomitants left their mark in church and society. By 1860, many of the prestigious figures in national life were outspoken supporters of evangelical faith.

Keywords: American Protestant; commonwealth; Second Great Awakening; Revolution; American religious history; slavery; missionary; voluntary societies; churches

Chapter.  14834 words. 

Subjects: History of Christianity

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