Cover image for The Methodists and revolutionary America, 1760-1800 : the shaping of an evangelical culture
The Methodists and revolutionary America, 1760-1800 : the shaping of an evangelical culture
Andrews, Dee.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, [2000]

Physical Description:
xv, 367 pages : illustrations, map, portraits ; 25 cm
Raising religious affections -- The Wesleyan connection -- The making of a methodist -- Evangelical sisters -- The African methodists -- Laboring men, artisans, and entrepreneurs -- Methodism politicized -- The great revival and beyond.
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BX8236 .A53 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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The Methodists and Revolutionary America is the first in-depth narrative of the origins of American Methodism, one of the most significant popular movements in American history. Placing Methodism's rise in the ideological context of the American Revolution and the complex social setting of the greater Middle Atlantic where it was first introduced, Dee Andrews argues that this new religion provided an alternative to the exclusionary politics of Revolutionary America. With its call to missionary preaching, its enthusiastic revivals, and its prolific religious societies, Methodism competed with republicanism for a place at the center of American culture.

Based on rare archival sources and a wealth of Wesleyan literature, this book examines all aspects of the early movement. From Methodism's Wesleyan beginnings to the prominence of women in local societies, the construction of African Methodism, the diverse social profile of Methodist men, and contests over the movement's future, Andrews charts Methodism's metamorphosis from a British missionary organization to a fully Americanized church. Weaving together narrative and analysis, Andrews explains Methodism's extraordinary popular appeal in rich and compelling new detail.

Author Notes

Dee E. Andrews is Associate Professor of History at California State University, Hayward, and co-convener of the Bay Area Seminar in Early American History and Culture.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

This thoroughly researched account of the formative era of American Methodists focuses on the "middle colonies" from the Hudson River to the Potomac. While including summaries of Methodism's origins in England, Andrews (history, California State Univ., Hayward) concentrates on the pre-1800 features of a group that was neither church nor sect, but a "popular missionary movement." Women numerically dominated the movement; most were young and unmarried when they joined, but were seeking neither authority nor emancipation; virtually all male converts were married to a female member. Although accounts of converts reflected differing life experiences, there was a sameness to their religious awakening in spite of differences of sex, ethnicity, and class. Andrews' careful reconstruction of congregations in New York, Baltimore, and Philadelphia provides evidence of the urban impact while showing that people of all classes became Methodists. During and after the Revolution, Methodists remained a countercultural, generally apolitical movement--requiring major changes in members' behavior when attempting to end slavery. This book also tells why Methodists attracted many black members who would eventually create independent churches. Because Andrews challenges many conventional images of early Methodists and revivalists and because her conclusions are solidly grounded, this book should be required reading for historians of early American religion. Upper-division undergraduate and above. J. W. Frost; Swarthmore College

Table of Contents

List of Illustrationsp. ix
Prefacep. xi
Introduction How American Was Early American Methodism?p. 3
Part 1 Originsp. 11
Chapter 1 Raising Religious Affectionsp. 13
The Anglican Societies, the Wesleys, and Georgiap. 13
The Invention of Wesleyan Methodismp. 19
Wesley versus Whitefieldp. 24
Wesleyan Migration to British Americap. 31
Chapter 2 The Wesleyan Connectionp. 39
The Wesleyan Itinerants in Americap. 40
The Coming of the Warp. 47
American Methodists and the War Experiencep. 55
Postwar Conditions, Separation, and the MECp. 62
Chapter 3 The Making of a Methodistp. 73
The Revival Ritualp. 76
Religious Experiencep. 84
The Methodist Societyp. 92
Part II Social Changep. 97
Chapter 4 Evangelical Sistersp. 99
The Female Methodist Networkp. 100
Methodism and Family Conflictp. 105
Women in the City Societiesp. 112
Gender Public Authority, and the Householdp. 118
Chapter 5 The African Methodistsp. 123
The First Emancipation and Methodist Antislaveryp. 124
Black Methodists and Social Experiencep. 132
Richard Allen, Black Preachers, and the Rise of African Methodismp. 139
Separation and African Methodist Identityp. 150
Chapter 6 Laboring Men, Artisans, and Entrepreneursp. 155
Wesleyanism, Wealth, and Social Classp. 156
New York City: Workingman's Churchp. 161
Philadelphia: Anatomy of a Methodist Schismp. 168
Baltimore: New Menp. 177
Part III Politicsp. 185
Chapter 7 Methodism Politicizedp. 187
Politics Without: Church, State, and Partisanshipp. 188
Politics Within: Francis Asbury, James O'Kelly, and the MECp. 196
The Circuit Ridersp. 207
Chapter 8 The Great Revival and Beyondp. 221
1800 and the Coming of the Great Revivalp. 223
Muscularity, Domesticity, and Disunionp. 226
The Meaning of Methodism Americanizedp. 237
Conclusion: A Plain Gospel for a Plain Peoplep. 240
Appendixesp. 245
A. Tablesp. 247
B. Occupational Categories for Tables 11-14p. 255
C. Methodological Notep. 257
D. Methodist Statisticsp. 259
Abbreviationsp. 263
Notesp. 265
Indexp. 351