From Abolitionists to Fundamentalists: The transformation of the Wesleyan Methodists in the nineteenth and twentieth Centuries

Randall Stephens

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3 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

This article analyzes the cultural trajectory of a small, but influential denomination that formed in 1843. Wesleyan Methodism first emerged as an abolitionist protest against the Methodist compromise with slavery. It drew in members who championed a range of antebellum social reforms, including abolitionism, pacifism, women’s rights, and temperance. By the early 20th century Wesleyans would become closely identified with fundamentalism, waging war against modernism, championing personal holiness, and maintaining a militant brand of protestant orthodoxy. This article places Wesleyans within a larger religious and cultural context of the Civil War era and the late 19th century disenchantment of the Gilded Age and Progressive Eras. It also traces the reasons for the Wesleyans shifting focus away from social reform and toward matters of personal holiness.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-191
JournalAmerican Nineteenth Century History
Volume16
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Oct 2015

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