The Democratization of American Christianity Essay

2572 Words May 11th, 2015 11 Pages
The Democratization of American Christianity by Nathan O. Hatch
(Yale University Press, 1989)

Right from the beginning of The Democratization of American Christianity, Hatch immediately states that "The wave of popular religious movements that broke upon the United States in the half century after independence did more to Christianize American society than anything before or since." (pg. 3). This is the central theme of the book and Hatch does a excellent job of supporting this theme throughout with details how it started, why it started, and the effects on our American society then and now. Hatch argues that the popular religious movements during the first half of the 19th century was responsible for the Christianize of American
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Hatch went on in the second chapter to speak about the Methodists and Baptist appealed to the common people because they revolted against the idea that a preacher had to be formally educated and trained. This upset many religious leaders like Timothy Dwight (President of Yale) and Lyman Beecher that were offended by illiterate men teaching the work of god. In many ways, this attention brough by Dwight and Beecher made Methodists and Baptist more popular because they were appealing to everyday Americans through clergy that were just as educated as them. One such preacher was Lorenzo Dow who claimed “that no gospel law existed that authorized any man to forbid or put up barriers to stop any man from preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.” (pg 20). The stance by Dwight and Beecher caused many to feel it was a rights and equality issue for a common man to be a preacher too. As pointed out by Hatch, what is important to understand during this time is that the political parties were set and politics became heated and sometimes violent. Many commoners began to rebel against the elite and slavery. Many citizens had strong opinions about citizenship, religion, political representation, and equality. Everyday Americans were very critical of clergy that took a salary rather than living in poverty like

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