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History 578 Lecture # 1

History 578 Lecture # 1 - History 578 Lecture 1 I...

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History 578 Lecture # 1 I. Christianity in the American 19 th Century A. When Alexis de Tocqueville published Democracy in America in 1835, a book that had grown from his lengthy tour of the U.S., he said, “there is no country in the world where the Christian religion retains a greater influence over the souls of men than in America.” B. “In France, I had almost always seen the spirit of religon and the spirit of freedom marching in opposite directions. Bit in America I found they were intimately united and that they reigned in common over the same country.” C. By 1870 there were about 40 million people in the U.S. 1. 3,500,000 Catholics 2. 3,500,000 Methodists 3. 440,000 Lutherans 4. 2,000,000 were Baptists or Disciples 5. 1,150,000 Presbyterians 6. 480,000 Congregationalists 7. 440,000 Episcopalians 8. 140,000 Universalists 9. German Reformed 90,000 – 100,000 10. Quakers 90,000 – 100, 000 11. Dutch Reformed 70,000 12. Unitarians 30,000 13. Mennonites, Church of the Brethren, Winebrennarians, Swedenborgians, and Shakers about 10,000 adherents each. D. In 1860 the census counted 38,183 church buildings, which averaged out to 1 house of worship for every 608 Americans E. These churches were served by 26,000 professional ministers and priests, and over 10,000 local part- time preachers. F. The Methodists alone had 19,883 churches in 1860 G. Regular church attendance was around 40% all along the East Coast. Further West the rates dropped to about 25%, but then increased to about 40% again in the far West. II. Comparison with Europe A. In the 1830’s Andrew Reed, a Congregationalist from England couldn’t believe the vitality of the faith he witnessed in America B. He kept detailed notes comparing church attendance in American cities with roughly the same population as English cities. C. The Americans were ahead in every account. 1. Nottingham, an English city of about 50,000 people, had 23 churches and 4,864 parishoners. 2. In Cincinnati, “a city 40 years old, and in the forests” had only 30,000 people, and had 21 churches – 2 short of Nottingham’s, but in those 21 churches had twice as a many parishoners, at 8,555.
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