Review Of "The Methodists And Revolutionary America, 1760-1800: The Shaping Of An Evangelical Culture" By D. E. Andrews

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This thoroughly researched account of the formative era of American Methodists focuses on the "middle colonies" from the Hudson River to the Potomac. While including summaries of Methodism's origins in England, Andrews (history, California State Univ., Hayward) concentrates on the pre-1800 features of a group that was neither church nor sect, but a "popular missionary movement." Women numerically dominated the movement; most were young and unmarried when they joined, but were seeking neither authority nor emancipation; virtually all male converts were married to a female member. Although accounts of converts reflected differing life experiences, there was a sameness to their religious awakening in spite of differences of sex, ethnicity, and class. Andrews' careful reconstruction of congregations in New York, Baltimore, and Philadelphia provides evidence of the urban impact while showing that people of all classes became Methodists. During and after the Revolution, Methodists remained a countercultural, generally apolitical movement--requiring major changes in members' behavior when attempting to end slavery. This book also tells why Methodists attracted many black members who would eventually create independent churches. 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. Upper-division undergraduate and above.


This work is freely available courtesy of Choice Reviews. The review has been reproduced in full in the abstract field.

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