Unformatted text preview: The Transformation of American
I. “The Three Great Families of Faith”
Challenges: Social Gospel and Fundamentalism
The Scopes Trial, 1925
No Discussion Sections this week!
Exam on Wednesday: 25 multiple choice; 5 short (1-3 sentence)
answer, out of 6. Blue books!
If you’ll need extra time or special arrangements please see me or
your TA immediately after class today.
We’ll do our best to hand back papers and exams next week in
No 1-minute questionnaires today: so please ask questions if you
Last time: question about immigration from non-European countries.
Next Monday: Optional class. Video Showing. Crucible of Empire:
The Spanish American War. If you come and write a reaction paper,
you can receive extra credit.
Office Hours: 1-2 today.
Office American Paradox
Deeply worldly and materialistic but also
deeply religious. More religious than any
other Western, industrialized country.
2008 survey, for example, found that 71%
of Americans are absolutely certain about
the existence of God.
About 40% attend Church weekly.
Close to 60% pray daily. The “Three Great Families of Faith”
Protestantism, Catholicism, and Judaism
1955 book by Will Herberg: Protestant,
Catholic, and Jew
This was a relatively recent construct in
Not really accurate for the period before or
after Religious Identity
1776 1870 1924 1999 Protestantism 84% 85% 75% 55% Catholicism 1% 10% 17% 27% Judaism
Judaism .1% .5% 3.5% 2% None/Other 15% 5% 5% 13% 2008 survey of religious identity
2008 Chart from NY Times
NY Catholics largest single religious group; Southern
Baptists are the second largest and the biggest
Protestant Mapping Religious Adherence
Mapping Areas of Evangelical strength
The Rise of Evangelicalism A religious style rather than a denomination
Strongly emotional form of faith
Relied for growth upon “revival meetings”:
powerful group experiences
Moral engagement in the world: temperance,
anti-slavery, Evangelical Triumph
Evangelicals went from a minority within
Protestantism to a majority in the years
But as this happened, many evangelicals
detected a change in the character of the
movement. Developments in Protestantism
Evangelicalism for many became known
as “liberal Protestantism,” which were
characterized by the “mainline” churches.
Much more optimistic and less active than
the original evangelicals from whom they
descended. Evangelical Triumph and Schism
Evangelical Protestantism Fundamentalism Liberal Protestantism
“Mainline Churches” Social Gospel Challenges: From 2 directions
Social Gospel: asked the question, “What
Would Jesus Do?”
Fundamentalism: focused on personal,
rather than social, sin.
a) divine accuracy of the Scripture
b) virgin birth
c) deity of Christ
d) second coming of Christ
e) divine atonement for the sins of
mankind Billy Sunday: A leading
Prohibition The Scopes Trial, 1925: Clarence
Darrow (l) and William Jennings
Bryan Bryan during the trial
Bryan John Scopes: Represented by the
American Civil Liberties Union
American Growth of Conservative
Protestantism after WWII
An Immigrant Church, which tended to be
urban and working class as well.
Anti-Catholicism was a powerful social
force through the 1920s.
Many Catholics criticized the public
schools for their Protestant biases.
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