Bearing Witness against Sin: The Evangelical Birth of the American Social Movement

Bearing Witness against Sin: The Evangelical Birth of the American Social Movement

by Michael P. Young
     
 

During the 1830s the United States experienced a wave of movements for social change over temperance, the abolition of slavery, anti-vice activism, and a host of other moral reforms. Michael Young argues for the first time in Bearing Witness against Sin that together they represented a distinctive new style of mobilization—one that prefigured

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Overview

During the 1830s the United States experienced a wave of movements for social change over temperance, the abolition of slavery, anti-vice activism, and a host of other moral reforms. Michael Young argues for the first time in Bearing Witness against Sin that together they represented a distinctive new style of mobilization—one that prefigured contemporary forms of social protest by underscoring the role of national religious structures and cultural schemas.

 

In this book, Young identifies a new strain of protest that challenged antebellum Americans to take personal responsibility for reforming social problems. In this period activists demanded that social problems like drinking and slaveholding be recognized as national sins unsurpassed in their evil and immorality. This newly awakened consciousness undergirded by a confessional style of protest, seized the American imagination and galvanized thousands of people. Such a phenomenon, Young argues, helps explain the lives of charismatic reformers such as William Lloyd Garrison and the Grimké sisters, among others.

Marshalling lively historical materials, including letters and life histories of reformers, Bearing Witness against Sin is a revelatory account of how religion lay at the heart of social reform.

 

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780226960852
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Publication date:
02/01/2007
Pages:
248
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.80(d)

Meet the Author

Michael P. Young is assistant professor of sociology at the University of Texas at Austin.

Table of Contents


List of Illustrations     viii
Acknowledgments     x
Introduction     1
Modern Social Movements and Confessional Projections of the Self     10
Mammon, Church, and State in a Restless America     39
The Benevolent Empire and the Special Sins of the Nation     54
Rise Up and Repent     86
A National Wave of Confessional Protests, 1829-1839     118
"To Bear Witness to the Horrors of the Southern Prison House"     156
Conclusion: "For the Movement and for Myself"     198
Notes     209
Reference List     237
Index     251

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