Disorderly Champions of Order

Pamela J. Walker

in Pulling the Devil's Kingdom Down

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2001 | ISBN: 9780520225916
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520925854 | DOI:
Disorderly Champions of Order

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The Salvation Army was a neighborhood religion, but Salvationists were neither fully of the communities they evangelized nor outsiders. Some trade unionists and labor leaders admired the Salvation Army's ability to organize its adherents into well-disciplined corps, while others deplored its theological approach to poverty. Some deemed it irrelevant, while others found its services blasphemous. In other instances, young men organized themselves into “Skeleton Armies,” which initiated serious, well-organized street frays. The opposition mounted by pamphlet writers and the legal opposition of magistrates and local governments coincided with attacks by street gangs. The Army stimulated a kind of informal alliance of these unlikely allies, who were united in their desire to clear Salvationists from their neighborhoods. Their opposition allowed the Salvationists to present themselves as the champions of the working class, resisting an unjust church and state—a position that echoed a long tradition of Nonconformist, egalitarian radicalism.

Keywords: Salvation Army; religion; Salvationists; Skeleton Armies; opposition; working class; church; state; radicalism

Chapter.  12503 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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