Date of Award

Spring 2012

Document Type


Terms of Use

© 2012 Charlotte Gaw. All rights reserved. This work is freely available courtesy of the author. It may only be used for non-commercial, educational, and research purposes. For all other uses, including reproduction and distribution, please contact the copyright holder.

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


History Department

First Advisor

Bruce Dorsey


In this paper, Gaw examines the First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia and the role that its version of “heterodox” or “liberal” Christianity played within the broader developments of American religion during the antebellum period. Rather than analyzing the Church in isolation, Gaw argues for a broader investigative lens that appreciates the influences of America’s developing religious, social, and political ideals on the Church’s own development, including growing evangelical sentiments and an influx of Hicksite Quaker members into the Church after the Hicksite Schism. Gaw uses a variety of letters, sermon transcripts, and secondary scholarly accounts to argue that Philadelphia’s Unitarians created a “lived religion, community, and moral centrality of the individual conscience” to address the key issues of their times, including religious freedom and abolitionism.

Included in

History Commons