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By Richard Rankin

Richard Rankin probes the non secular, highbrow, and social lives of North Carolina's antebellum elite to show the dramatic impression of spiritual revival within the first 1/2 the 19th century. Rankin makes use of kinfolk letters and church documents to rfile an include of evangelism's emotionalism by way of the feminine top type, a rapid objection to evangelism's egalitarian tenets by means of the male top type, and the household rigidity that ensued. Rankin evaluates the revival of the Episcopal church as a male technique to exchange evangelism with a extra conservative method of faith, and he speculates that it was once North Carolina's escalating quarrel with northern states over slavery that successfully confident ladies to desert their spiritual enthusiasm. Dispelling the parable of the plantation-era Christian gentleman, Rankin argues that filthy rich North Carolina men lived now not by way of Christian doctrine yet through an ethic of cause and honor. equally, adult females a trendy social code. Rankin indicates that as revival unfold, many upper-class ladies skilled non secular rebirth, concentrated their lives at the church instead of on social circles, and tried to transform their husbands to basic Christianity in addition to a extra intimate, worrying form of marriage. Rankin says that upper-class men, even if, have been decided to withstand a strength that might dissatisfied a social order over which they presided. whereas infrequently turning into complete communing contributors themselves - an act which might have avoided the dueling, ingesting, and womanizing that their code of honor allowed - those males inspired their other halves, daughters, and sisters to undergo the excessive churchmanship of conservative Episcopal monks. In chroniclingthe next progress of the Episcopal church, Rankin credit a turning out to be worry of slave unrest and the Abolitionist flow instead of the male higher category or the Episcopal clergy with squelching spiritual fervor between North Carolina's woman aristocracy.

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Additional info for Ambivalent churchmen and Evangelical churchwomen: the religion of the Episcopal elite in North Carolina, 1800-1860

Sample text

Anglican faith was genuine, nevertheless. The religious language of their wills and letters was largely formulaic. But their formulas had profound meaning and were the essence, or the distillation, of the entire corpus of beliefs to which they ascribed. Anglican doctrine and practice buttressed the elite's notions of proper social arrangements. The hierarchical nature of the Anglican church, in fact, paralleled the gentry's assumptions concerning proper social order. For Anglicans, the older world view inherited from feudal Europe remained alive.

Radical religious thought was gaining an eager audience among the cream of the state's genteel youths. " In the former instance, there is no indication as to how the debate was decided. In the latter, the debate was decided in the affirmative. 34 Even individuals raised in orthodox homes were perusing Enlightenment literature. As a young man in 1806, Ebenezer Pettigrew, son of bishop-elect Charles, read with interest Volney's The Ruins; Or A Survey of the Revolutions of Empires, a book that condemned religion as the source of political injustice.

First of all, it is evident that some North Carolina Episcopalianseven if a minoritystill subscribed to the old orthodoxy. A few men, after all, had organized the early conventions. The dozen or so lay delegates to the four conventions, who came from different locales mainly in eastern North Carolina, also represented a kind of proof of enduring Episcopal loyalties. Although in certain cases their presence may have been idiosyncratic, it is more likely that these individuals were representative of a larger body of Episcopalians who resided in the eastern part of the state; and, indeed, the lay participants at the convention may well have been acting as delegates for communities of Episcopalians back at their respective neighborhoods.

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