Thomas K. Beecher

Overview

This is the first full-length biography of the Reverend Thomas K. Beecher, a member of the most famous family of reformers in 19th-century America. Unlike his famous siblings, Thomas Beecher defended slavery on the eve of the Civil War and condemned the abolitionist, temperance, and women's rights movements. This account of his anti-reform views examines important, but relatively unexplored, questions in the historiography of antebellum reform: Why did some Northern evangelical Protestants oppose these movements?...

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Overview

This is the first full-length biography of the Reverend Thomas K. Beecher, a member of the most famous family of reformers in 19th-century America. Unlike his famous siblings, Thomas Beecher defended slavery on the eve of the Civil War and condemned the abolitionist, temperance, and women's rights movements. This account of his anti-reform views examines important, but relatively unexplored, questions in the historiography of antebellum reform: Why did some Northern evangelical Protestants oppose these movements? To what extent did their opposition represent a backlash against the legacy of American Revolutionary ideals? Glenn emphasizes how Thomas Beecher's life and work illustrate important changes in the Protestant ministry during the latter half of the 19th century. This is an insightful and thorough biography that will appeal to readers interested in American cultural and religious history.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Unlike his more famous siblings, Thomas Beecher campaigned against the major reform movements of his day. He defended slavery on the eve of the Civil War, praising it as benign, useful, and necessary<-->even after his sister dramatized its cruelties in "Uncle Tom's Cabin". His anti-reform views are placed in the context of a northern conservative backlash against the legacy of the American Revolution. At the same time, his innovative ministry and his development of one of the first institutional churches in the United States are also explored. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

MYRA C. GLENN is Associate Professor of American History at Elmira College in New York.

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Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
1 Growing Up a Beecher 1
2 The Struggle for Independence: The Philadelphia Years 19
3 Teaching and Courting in Hartford, Connecticut 33
4 Coping with Failure: The Williamsburgh Ministry 51
5 Starting Over: The Early Years of Beecher's Elmira Ministry 69
6 Taking Risks: Marriage, Friendship, and Political Activism 87
7 The War Years: Political Intrigue and Family Conflict 101
8 Tackling the Elmira Establishment: Beecher and the Politics of Conflict 125
9 Park Church: An Experiment in Christian Socialism 147
10 Coping with Social Turmoil, Family Tragedy, and Old Age 163
Epilogue 181
Notes 183
Select Bibliography 219
Index 229
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