A provocative reassessment of religion and culture in the early days of the American republic "The so-called Second Great Awakening was the shaping epoch of American Protestantism, and this book is the most important study of it ever published."--James Turner, Journal of Interdisciplinary History Winner of the John Hope Franklin Publication Prize, the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic book prize, and the Albert C. Outler Prize
In this provocative reassessment of religion and culture in the early days of the American republic, Nathan O. Hatch argues that during this period American Christianity was democratized and common people became powerful actors on the religious scene. Hatch examines five distinct traditions or mass movements that emerged early in the nineteenth century--the Christian movement, Methodism, the Baptist movement, the black churches, and the Mormons--showing how all offered compelling visions of individual potential and collective aspiration to the unschooled and unsophisticated.
"The most powerful, informed, and complex suggestion yet made about the religious, political, and psychic 'opening' of American life from Jefferson to Jackson. . . . Hatch's reconstruction of his five religious mass movements will add popular religious culture to denominationalism, church and state, and theology as primary dimensions of American religious history."--Robert M. Calhoon, William and Mary Quarterly
"Hatch's revisionist work asks us to put the religion of the early republic in a radically new perspective. . . . He has written one of the finest books on American religious history to appear in many years."--James H. Moorhead, Theology Today