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.
"This is the best social history available of American Methodism's formative years. . . . Andrews's insights . . . are often brilliant. . . . A pathbreaking work."--John Wigger, Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography
"Among the best treatments we have of the intertwined influence of class, political economy, and religious belief in the formative era of American evangelicalism. The Methodists and Revolutionary America is a formidable achievement."--Susan Juster, Journal of American History
"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."--Choice
"At very long last the Methodists of the early United States are receiving the serious historical attention they have always deserved. . . . The Methodists and Revolutionary America is the latest and in some ways the best of . . . recent efforts to take the measure of the movement that in the two generations after the War for Independence transformed the face of American religion. . . . The product of nearly two decades of intensive research."--Mark A. Noll, Reviews in American History
"This book offers the most accurate assessment to date of American Methodism's complex social origins . . . A powerfully revisionist social history of American Methodism's alleged golden age, one that will challenge traditional proponents of declension for years to come."--Douglas A. Sweeney, Religious Studies Review
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