Published Date

January 1, 2004



This resource was developed in 2004 as part of “The 19th-Century US Survey and American Religions through the Civil War” by J. David Hoeveler.


Martin Luther

From a comprehensive website, with access to the great body of Luther writings.


University of Wittenberg

The scene of Luther’s posting of the famous 95 theses.


Johann Tetzel

“Monk, born in Pirna, Germany. He became a Dominican in 1489, and was appointed in 1516 to preach an indulgence in favour of contributors to the building fund of St Peter’s in Rome. This he did with great ostentation, thereby provoking the Wittenberg theses of Luther, and his own reply.”


Philipp Melancthon

The great formulator of Lutheran doctrines.


Ulrich Zwingli

“Protestant reformer, born in Wildhaus, Switzerland. He studied at Bern, Vienna, and Basel, was ordained in 1506, and became a chaplain to the Swiss mercenaries. In 1518, elected preacher in the Zürich minster, he opposed the selling of indulgences, and espoused the Reformed doctrines, obtaining the support of the civil authorities. In 1524 he split with Luther over the question of the Eucharist, rejecting every form of corporeal presence of Christ. War between the cantons followed, and he was killed during a battle near Kappel.”


Luther burns the papal bull of excommunication


John Calvin

Author of the The Institutes of the Christian Religion in 1535 and first formulator of the Reformed Protestant theology.


A Jesuit Disemboweled

“Jesuits like John Ogilvie (Ogilby) (1580-1615) were under constant surveillance and threat from the Protestant governments of England and Scotland. Ogilvie was sentenced to death by a Glasgow court and hanged and mutilated on March 10, 1615.”


The Expulsion of the Salzburgers

“On October 31, 1731, the Catholic ruler of Salzburg, Austria, Archbishop Leopold von Firmian, issued an edict expelling as many as 20,000 Lutherans from his principality. Many propertyless Lutherans, given only eight days to leave their homes, froze to death as they drifted through the winter seeking sanctuary. The wealthier ones who were allowed three months to dispose of their property fared better. Some of these Salzburgers reached London, from whence they sailed to Georgia. Others found new homes in the Netherlands and East Prussia.”


The Westminster Confession of Faith

“The Westminster Confession of Faith, the “creed” of the Presbyterian Church in Scotland and the American colonies, was drafted by a convention of ministers summoned by the Long Parliament in 1643. In the revised creed, adopted by the Presbyterian Church in the United States in 1788, “nursing fathers” was elevated from an explanatory note–(note f), as it appears here, to the body of the text in the section on the duties of the civil magistrate. The concept of the state as a nursing father provided the theological justification for some American Presbyterians to approve the idea of state financial support for religion.” The Humble Advice of the Assembly of Divines by Authority of Parliament sitting at Westminster; Concerning a Confession of Faith London: S. Griffin, 1658 Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (122)


Persecution of Huguenots by Catholics

“The slaughter of Huguenots (French Protestants) by Catholics at Sens, Burgundy in 1562 occurred at the beginning of more than thirty years of religious strife between French Protestants and Catholics. These wars produced numerous atrocities. The worst was the notorious St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre in Paris, August 24, 1572. Thousands of Huguenots were butchered by Roman Catholic mobs. Although an accommodation between the two sides was sealed in 1598 by the Edict of Nantes, religious privileges of Huguenots eroded during the seventeenth century and were extinguished in 1685 by the revocation of the Edict. Perhaps as many as 400,000 French Protestants emigrated to various parts of the world, including the British North American colonies.”


Persecution of Jesuits in England

“In the image on the left is Brian Cansfield (1581-1643), a Jesuit priest seized while at prayer by English Protestant authorities in Yorkshire. Cansfield was beaten and imprisoned under harsh conditions. He died on August 3, 1643 from the effects of his ordeal. At the right is another Jesuit priest, Ralph Corbington (Corby) (ca. 1599-1644), who was hanged by the English government in London, September 17, 1644, for professing his faith.”


Martyrdom of John Rogers

“The execution in 1555 of John Rogers (1500-1555) is portrayed here in the 9th edition of the famous Protestant martyrology, Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. Rogers was a Catholic priest who converted to Protestantism in the 1530s under the influence of William Tyndale and assisted in the publication of Tyndale’s English translations of the Bible. Burned alive at Smithfield on February 4, 1555, Rogers became the “first Protestant martyr” executed by England’s Catholic Queen Mary. He was charged with heresy, including denial of the real presence of Christ in the sacrament of communion.”


Queen Elizabeth I as Nursing Mother to the Church

“John Jewel, Bishop of Salisbury (1522-1571), has been called the “father of the Church of England,” because his tract, The Apologie of the Church of England (London, 1562), was “the first methodical statement of the position of the Church of England against the Church of Rome.”Jewel’s Apologie was attacked by Catholic spokesmen, eliciting from him the Defense of his original publication, seen here, in which he saluted Queen Elizabeth, using Isaiah’s metaphor, as the “Nource” of the church.” A Defense of the Apologie of the Churche of Englande John Jewel , London: Henry Wykes, 1570 Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (121)


The Geneva Bible

“The Geneva Bible was published in English in Geneva in 1560 by English reformers who fled to the continent to escape persecutions by Queen Mary. Their leader was William Whittingham, who married a sister of John Calvin. The Geneva Bible was used by the Pilgrims and Puritans in New England until it was gradually replaced by the King James Bible. According to one twentieth-century scholar, “between 1560 . . . and 1630 no fewer than about two hundred editions of the Geneva Bible, either as a whole or of the New Testament separately, appeared. It was the Bible of Shakespeare and of John Bunyan and of Cromwell’s Army and of the Pilgrim Fathers.”


The King James Bible

“The first edition of the King James Bible, also called the “Authorized Version,” was composed by a committee of English scholars between 1607 and 1611. The first copy of the King James Bible known to have been brought into the colonies was carried by John Winthrop to Massachusetts in 1630. Gradually the King James Bible supplanted the Geneva Bible and achieved such a monopoly of the affections of the English-speaking peoples that a scholar in 1936 complained that many “seemed to think that the King James Version is the original Bible which God handed down out of heaven, all done up in English by the Lord himself.”


Walter Mildmay

“Walter Mildmay was the youngest son of a prosperous merchant of Chelmsford in Essex. Three of his brothers followed their father in commerce, but one, Thomas, found a career in the administration of the ecclesiastical revenues annexed to the Crown on Henry VIII’s assumption of supremacy over the church of England. It was against this background of new opportunities of public office and land-owning status that Walter was in 1538 sent to Christ’s College in Cambridge. He did not stay long enough to take a degree – by 1540 he had joined his brother Thomas – but he acquired a lasting attachment to his college; and it must have been in these formative years that he developed his sympathy for Calvinistic puritanism.”


Drowning of Protestants

“Shown here is a depiction of the murder by Irish Catholics of approximately one hundred Protestants from Loughgall Parish, County Armagh, at the bridge over the River Bann near Portadown, Ulster. This atrocity occurred at the beginning of the Irish Rebellion of 1641. Having held the Protestants as prisoners and tortured them, the Catholics drove them “like hogs” to the bridge, where they were stripped naked and forced into the water below at swordspoint. Survivors of the plunge were shot.”


Richard Mather

“Richard Mather (1596-1669), minister at Dorchester, Massachusetts, 1636-1669, was a principal spokesman for and defender of the Congregational form of church government in New England. In 1648, he drafted the Cambridge Platform, the definitive description of the Congregational system. Mather’s son, Increase (1639-1723), and grandson, Cotton (1663-1728), were leaders of New England Congregationalism in their generations.”


Increase Mather (portrait) (narrative)

“American Puritan clergyman, b. Dorchester, Mass.; son of Richard Mather. After graduation (1656) from Harvard, he studied at Trinity College, Dublin (M.A., 1658), and preached in England and Guernsey until the Restoration. After returning to Massachusetts (1661), he became (1664) pastor of North Church, Boston, and retained that position through his life.”


Cotton Mather (portrait)

“Cotton Mather (1663-1728), the best-known New Puritan divine of his generation, was a controversial figure in his own time and remains so among scholars today. A formidable intellect and a prodigious writer, Mather published some 450 books and pamphlets. He was at the center of all of the major political, theological, and scientific controversies of his era. Mather has been accused, unfairly, of instigating the Salem witchcraft trials.”


17th-Century Laws of Massachusetts

“Criminal laws in the early New England colonies were based on the scriptures, especially the Old Testament. Many civil laws and procedures were modelled after the English common law.”


Eliot’s Algonquin Language Bible

“Obedient to the New Testament command to preach the Gospel to all nations, ministers in all of the first British North American colonies strove to convert the local native populations to Christianity, often with only modest results. One of the most successful proselytizers was John Eliot(1604-1690), Congregational minister at Roxbury, Massachusetts. His translation of the Bible into the Algonquin Indian language is seen here. At one time Eliot ministered to eleven hundred “Praying Indians,” organized into fourteen New England style towns.”


Colonial Baptist Church

“Believed to be the first Baptist church in America, the Providence congregation, founded by Roger Williams, was organized in 1639. The meeting house, shown here, was constructed in 1774-1775 from plans by architect John Brown, after a design by James Gibbs. This church shows that some colonial Baptists had no compunctions about erecting imposing church buildings. ”


George Fox (portrait)

Fox’s spiritual wanderings led him to discover the tents of the Quaker faith and to his founding of the Society of Friends.


William Penn (portrait) (Penn and Indians)

Two portraits of the famous founder of Pennsylvania.


An Early Episcopal Church

“St. James Church, built in South Carolina’s oldest Anglican parish outside of Charleston, is thought to have been constructed between 1711 and 1719 during the rectorate of the Reverend Francis le Jau, a missionary of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts.” St. James Church, Goose Creek, Berkeley County, South Carolina, [exterior view] – [interior view]


Growth of the Eighteenth-Century Anglican Church

” The growth of the American [Anglican] church in the eighteenth century can be illustrated by changes in city skylines over the course of the century. These three views of New York City in 1690, 1730, and 1771 display the increased number of the city’s churches. An empty vista in 1690 had become the spires of Trinity Church (Anglican), the Lutheran Church, the “new” Dutch Reformed Church, the French Protestant Church (Huguenots), City Hall, the “old” Dutch Reformed Church, the Secretary’s Office and the church in Fort George.”


Anglican Church in the Colonies


A Rural Baptist Church (2 pictures)

“The South Quay Baptist Church (top) was founded in 1775, although it was not formally “organized” until ten years later. The difference between the interior of the rural Mount Shiloh Baptist Church and its Anglican counterpart, St. James Church, reveals much about the differences between the denominations that worshiped in each structure.”


Colonial Baptist Church

“Believed to be the first Baptist church in America, the Providence congregation, founded by Roger Williams, was organized in 1639. The meeting house, shown here, was constructed in 1774-1775 from plans by architect John Brown, after a design by James Gibbs. This church shows that some colonial Baptists had no compunctions about erecting imposing church buildings.”


Jonathan Mayhew

“An eloquent proponent of the idea that civil and religious liberty was ordained by God, Jonathan Mayhew considered the Church of England as a dangerous, almost diabolical, enemyof the New England Way. The bishop’s mitre with the snake emerging from it represented his view of the Anglican hierarchy.”


George Whitefield

“One of the great evangelists of all time, George Whitefield (1714-1770) was ordained in the Church of England, with which he was constantly at odds. Whitefield became a sensation throughout England, preaching to huge audiences. In 1738 he made the first of seven visits to the America, where he gained such popular stature that he was compared to George Washington. Whitefield’s preaching tour of the colonies, from 1739 to 1741, was the high-water mark of the Great Awakening there. A sermon in Boston attracted as many as 30,000 people. Whitefield’s success has been attributed to his resonant voice, theatrical presentation, emotional stimulation, message simplification and clever exploitation of emerging advertising techniques. Some have compared him to modern televangelists.”


Whitefield Satirized

“George Whitefield acquired many enemies, who assailed evangelicalism as a distortion of the gospel and attacked him and his followers for alleged moral failings. The evangelist endured many jibes at his eye disease; hence the epithet “Dr. Squintum.” This satire shows an imp pouring inspiration in Whitefield’s ear while a grotesque Fame, listening on the other side through an ear trumpet, makes accusations on two counts that have dogged revivalists to the present day: sex and avarice. The Devil, raking in money below the podium, and the caption raise charges that Whitefield was enriching himself by his ministry. At the lower left, Whitefield’s followers proposition a prostitute, reflecting the line in the caption that “their Hearts to lewd Whoring extend.”


Jonathan Edwards

“Jonathan Edwards (1703-17) was the most important American preacher during the Great Awakening. A revival in his church in Northampton, Massachusetts, 1734-1735, was considered a harbinger of the Awakening which unfolded a few years later. Edwards was more than an effective evangelical preacher, however. He was the principal intellectual interpreter of, and apologist for, the Awakening. He wrote analytical descriptions of the revival, placing it in a larger theological context. Edwards was a world-class theologian, writing some of the most original and important treatises ever produced by an American. He died of smallpox in 1758, shortly after becoming president of Princeton.”


Sinners Warned (Jonathan Edwards)

“Perhaps Jonathan Edward’s only writing familiar to most modern audiences, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God was not representative of his vast theological output, which contains some of the most learned and profound religious works ever written by an American. Like most evangelical preachers during the Great Awakening, Edwards employed the fear of divine punishment to bring his audiences to repentance. However, it is a distortion of his and his colleagues’ messages and characters to dismiss them as mere “hellfire” preachers.” Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God Jonathan Edwards, Boston: 1741 Rare Books Division, The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations (70)


The Revival of Northampton

“Jonathan Edwards’s( account of a revival in his own church at Northampton, Massachusetts, and in neighboring churches in the Connecticut Valley was considered a portent of major spiritual developments throughout the British Empire. Consequently, his Narrative was first published in London in 1737 with an introduction by two leading English evangelical ministers, Isaac Watts, the famous hymnist, and John Guyse. In their introduction the two divines said that “never did we hear or read, since the first Ages of Christianity, any Event of this Kind so surprising as the present Narrative hath set before us.” A Faithful Narrative of the Surprising Work of God in the Conversion of Many Hundred Souls Jonathan Edwards, London: John Oswald, 1737 Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (69)


Gilbert Tennent

“Gilbert Tennent (1703-1764) was the Presbyterian leader of the Great Awakening in the Middle Colonies. Upon George Whitefield’s departure from the colonies in 1741, he deputized his friend Tennent to come from New Jersey to New England to “blow up the divine fire lately kindled there.” Despite being ridiculed as “an awkward and ridiculous Ape of Whitefield,” Tennent managed to keep the revival going until 1742. Criticism of Other Ministers.”


Dangers of an Unconverted Ministry

“This famous sermon, which Gilbert Tennent preached at Nottingham, Pennsylvania, in 1740, was characteristic of the polemics in which both the friends and enemies of the Great Awakening indulged. Tennent lashed ministerial opponents who had reservations about the theology of the new birth as “Pharisee-Shepherds” who “with the Craft of Foxes . . . did not forget to breathe the Cruelty of Wolves in a malicious Aspersing of the Person of Christ.” The Danger of an Unconverted Ministry Gilbert Tennent, A.M. Philadelphia: Benjamin Franklin, 1740 Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (73)


Fundraising for Princeton

“From the Great Awakening onward, evangelical Christians have founded colleges to train a ministry to deliver their message. The College of New Jersey (later Princeton University) was founded in 1746 by New Side Presbyterian sympathizers. This fundraising brochure for the infant college was prepared in 1764 by the New Side stalwart, Samuel Blair. “Aula Nassovica,” the Latinized version of Nassau Hall, was the principal building of the College of New Jersey in 1764.”


Samuel Davies

“Samuel Davies (1723-1761) was the spearhead of the efforts of New Side Presbyterians to evangelize Virginia and the South. Establishing himself in Hanover County, Virginia, in the 1740s, Davies was so successful in converting members of the Church of England to the new birth that he was soon embroiled in disputes with local officials about his right to preach the gospel where he chose.”


New Birth

“The “new birth,” prescribed by Christ for Nicodemus (John 3:1-8), was the term evangelicalism used for the conversion experience. For George Whitefield and other evangelical preachers the new birth was essential to Christian life, even though, as Whitefield admitted, “how this glorious Change is wrought in the Soul cannot easily be explained.” The Marks of the New Birth. A Sermon. . . . George Whitefield New York: William Bradford, 1739 Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (64) The Distinguishing Marks of a Work of the Spirit of God. Extracted from Mr. Edwards John Wesley, London: William Strahan, 1744 Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (71)


The Baptists

“Although Baptists had existed in the American colonies since the seventeenth century, it was the Great Awakening that galvanized them into a powerful, proselytizing force. Along with the Methodists, the Baptists became by the early years of the nineteenth century the principal Protestant denomination in the southern and western United States. Baptists differed from other Protestant groups by offering baptism (by immersion) only to those who had undergone a conversion experience; infants were, therefore, excluded from the sacrament, an issue that generated enormous controversy with other Christians.”


Whitefield’s Death

“Whitefield’s death and burial at Newburyport, Massachusetts, in 1770 made a deep impression on Americans from all walks of life. Among the eulogies composed for Whitefield was one from an unexpected source: a poem by a seventeen-year-old Boston slave, Phillis Wheatley (ca. 1753-1784), who had only been in the colonies for nine years. Freed by her owners, Phillis Wheatley continued her literary career and was acclaimed as the “African poetess.” George Whitefield’s Burial Woodcut from Phillis [Wheatley], An Elegiac Poem on the Death of that celebrated Divine and eminent Servant of Jesus Christ, the Reverend and learned George Whitefield Boston: Ezekiel Russell, 1770 Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (67


John Wesley

“The father of Methodism, John Wesley, was born in England in 1703, the son of Samuel Wesley, a Church of England clergyman, and his wife, Susanna, who had strong pietist inclinations although she was a convinced member of the Church of England. John Wesley received his education at Oxford University and was ordained a priest of the Church of England. While John and his brother Charles were at Oxford, they were part of a group often called the Holy Club, whose members met regularly for Bible study, prayer, and self-examination. They shared in the Lord’s Supper at least weekly and went forth to visit prisoners and teach poor children.”


Early Methodists in Georgia

“Not content with this ministry at home, John Wesley signed up for a stint in General Oglethorpe’s new colony of Georgia, where he was to serve as pastor to the colonists and missionary to the Native Americans, although he admitted his chief motive was “the hope of saving my own soul.” Charles signed on as the general’s secretary.


Colonial Methodists: Robert Strawbridge (1732?–81)

“Some of these Methodists crossed the Atlantic and formed religious societies: in Maryland, under the leadership of Robert Strawbridge; in New York, under the leadership of Barbara Heck and Philip Embury; and in Philadelphia, under the leadership of Captain Thomas Webb, who told people their “profession of religion was not worth a rush unless their sins were forgiven and they had the witness of God’s spirit with theirs, that they were the children of God.”


Francis Asbury

“Methodism, begun by John Wesley and others as a reform movement within the Church of England, spread to the American colonies in the 1760s. Although handicapped by Wesley’s opposition to the American Revolution, Methodists nevertheless made remarkable progress in the young American republic. Francis Asbury (1745-1816) was the dynamo who drove the spectacular growth of the church. He ordained 4,000 ministers, preached 16,000 sermons and traveled 270,000 miles on horseback, sometimes to the most inaccessible parts of the United States.”


Beginning of the Methodists

“The first Methodist meeting in New York City (one of the first in the American colonies) was held in the sail loft of this Manhattan rigging house in 1766. The five people who attended helped launch the Methodist Church on a “prosperous voyage” that by 1846, according to the statistics furnished in the caption, had gathered four million members.”


Organization of the Methodists

The remarkable growth of the Methodists in the post-Revolutionary period has been attributed to a hierarchical organizational structure that permitted the maximum mobilization of resources. The “corporating genius” of the Methodists is depicted in this series of concentric circles. Methodist Itinerant System


Philip Otterbein

“Philip William Otterbein was born in Germany in 1726, the son of a Reformed Church pastor whose spiritual life was influenced by pietism. Young Otterbein, following in his father’s wake, studied for ordination at a Reformed Church university of pietist orientation and served churches in Germany until he heard of the need for German-speaking pastors in America. Crossing the Atlantic in 1752, Otterbein became pastor of a Reformed congregation in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.”


Martin Boehm (Methodism)

“Otterbein organized Bible study and prayer groups, called for lively lay participation in congregational life, and preached the importance of spiritual regeneration. One Sunday in 1754 a parishioner, inspired by Otterbein’s sermon on “God’s Grace,” asked him for spiritual counsel, only to receive the answer, “Advice is scarce with me this day.” Then, realizing that he himself lacked what he had been holding out to others, Otterbein slipped off to a quiet room where after fervent prayer he suddenly felt the inner assurance of God’s forgiving love. Having had this experience, which was similar to Wesley’s, he called others to a heart-felt confidence in God through a first-hand relationship with Christ.”


Peter Catwright (Methodism)

A portrait of the great Methodist revivalist. He ran for Congress, unsuccessfully, against Abraham Lincoln.


Methodism and Slavery

“Suffrage and slavery were closely linked issues. When the Methodist Discipline of 1784 condemned slavery, it recalled “the unalienable rights of mankind” and “every principle of the revolution.” But this linking of opposition to slavery with the American Revolution’s quest for voting rights was forgotten as more and more whites received a vote in secular and church elections. Soon the church’s statements on slavery reflected the majority opinion in various parts of the country. Where the voters favored slavery, as in the South, the church sailed with the pro-slavery current. Where the voters favored the abolition of slavery, as in some sections of the North, particularly New England and New York, the church rode the waves of abolitionism. Where the voters were prepared to live and let live, whether slave or free, the men at the helm, the bishops, cried, “Don’t rock the boat!” This conservative cry was first heard, however, not in connection with slavery but with regard to democracy in the church.”


John Carroll birthplace

Upper Marlboro, Maryland, 1735


Georgetown College

This school is perhaps the most famous of the many educational institutions founded by John Carroll. According to the institution’s founding documents, it was created “for the education of youth and the perpetuity of the body of the clergy in this country.”


Catholic stamp

The Vatican issued this postage stamp to commemorate the bicentennial of the Catholic hierarchy in America.


Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton

Born in 1774, Seton founded the American Sisters of Charity. This convert to Catholicism became the first American to receive canonization


Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Shrine


Early American Jews-New Amsterdam

“There would have been no Jews In the English Colonies if it had not been for Rabbi Manasseh Ben Israel of Amsterdam, Holland. A four hundred year old law forbids Jews to settle in English lands. Rabbi Manasseh addresses Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of England, with a fervent messianic argument that England must allow Jews to live on its soil or else the D-day of Judgement will never come for Christian or Jew for… Before all (prophesies ?) be fulfilled the people of God must first be dispersed into all the places and countries of the world.” This thesis coincides with Cromwell’s desire to speed the development of trade and commerce in the colonies.”


Earliest Jewish Synagogue in America

The oldest synagogue building in the United States owes its existence in part to Roger Williams, a Puritan minister who was banshed from the colony of Salem in 1635 because of his insistence that “A permission of the most Paganish, Jewish, Turkish, or anti-Christian consciences and worship be granted to all men in all nations and countries.” In 1658 a group of Jews in Newport establish Jeshuat Israel. They break ground for their synagogue 1759 and dedicate it in 1763. Jews and the American Revolution


Jews in the American Revolution: Levy Solomons

“The American invaders of Canada in 1775 were aided by Levy Solomons, a Montreal merchant. After the failure of the invasion, the British punished Solomons on July 4,1776, by evicting him and throwing his household possessions into the street”


Jews in the American Revolution: Aaron Lopez

“He owned over one hundred ships including both coastal and ocean going and gave them all to the service of America. Known as “The Merchant Prince of New England” he had come from Portugal to Newport, achieved financial success and a respected standing in the community. He laid the cornerstone for Touro Synagogue and he founded Leicester Academy.”


American Revolution Understood in Scriptural Terms

“Thought to have been created soon after the Boston Massacre of 1770, this needlework is an excellent example of how many colonists understood political events in terms of familiar Bible stories. The creator of the work saw Absalom as a patriot, rebelling against and suffering from the arbitrary rule of his father King David (symbolizing George III). The king, shown at the top left, is playing his harp, evidently oblivious to the anguish of his children in the American colonies. The figure executing Absalom–David’s commander Joab in the Old Testament story–is dressed as a British red coat.”


The Plot to Land a Bishop [A Cartoon]

“The supposed British plot, to impose Anglican bishops in the colonies, aroused atavistic fears that Americans would be persecuted for their religious convictions and further poisoned relations between Britain and the colonies. In this cartoon an indignant New England mob pushes a bishop’s boat back towards England, frightening the prelate into praying, “Lord, now lettest thou thy Servant depart in Peace.” The mob flings a volume of Calvin’s Works at the bishop, while brandishing copies of John Locke and Algernon Sydney on government. The crowd shouts slogans: “Liberty & Freedom of Conscience”; “No Lords Spiritual or Temporal in New England”; and “shall they be obliged to maintain bishops that cannot maintain themselves.”


Resistance to Tyranny as a Christian Duty

“Jonathan Mayhew delivered this sermon–one of the most influential in American history–on the anniversary of the execution of Charles I. In it, he explored the idea that Christians were obliged to suffer under an oppressive ruler, as some Anglicans argued. Mayhew asserted that resistance to a tyrant was a “glorious” Christian duty. In offering moral sanction for political and military resistance, Mayhew anticipated the position that most ministers took during the conflict with Britain.”


Old South Meeting House (Boston)

“The Old South Meeting House was built in 1729 as a Puritan house of worship. It was also the largest building in colonial Boston. The Old South Meeting House is best known for the site of where the Boston Tea Party began. In the winter of 1773, more than 5,000 colonists gathered at Old South in a meeting to protest the tax on tea. After many hours of debate, Samuel Adams announced, “This meeting can do nothing more to save the country!” Protestors stormed out of the Old South Meeting House to the waterfront where they dumped three shiploads of tea into the Boston harbor. They changed American history forever. Today, the Old South Meeting House is a museum where they recreate the tea party debates.”


Revolution Justified by God

“Many Revolutionary War clergy argued that the war against Britain was approved by God. In this sermon Abraham Keteltas celebrated the American effort as “the cause of truth, against error and falsehood . . .the cause of pure and undefiled religion, against bigotry, superstition, and human invention . . .in short, it is the cause of heaven against hell–of the kind Parent of the Universe against the prince of darkness, and the destroyer of the human race.” God Arising And Pleading His People’s Cause; Or The American War . . . Shewn To Be The Cause Of God


A Minister in Arms

“This satire expresses the British view that the American Revolution was inspired by the same kind of religious fanaticism that had fueled Oliver Cromwell’s establishment of the Commonwealth of England more than a century earlier. Among the ragtag American soldiers is a clergyman holding a flag with a Liberty Tree on it and claiming … Tis Old Olivers Cause no Monarchy nor Laws.” The Yankie Doodles Intrenchments Near Boston 1776 Etching. Copyprint


A Fighting Parson

“Peter Muhlenberg (1746–1807) was the prime example of a “fighting parson” during the Revolutionary War. The eldest son of the Lutheran patriarch Henry Melchoir Muhlenberg, young Muhlenberg at the conclusion of a sermon in January 1776 to his congregation in Woodstock, Virginia, threw off his clerical robes to reveal the uniform of a Virginia militia officer. Having served with distinction throughout the war, Muhlenberg commanded a brigade that successfully stormed the British lines at Yorktown. He retired from the army in 1783 as a brevetted major general.”


A Revolutionary Chaplain

“James Caldwell (1734-1781), a Presbyterian minister at Elizabeth, New Jersey, was one of the many clergymen who served as chaplains during the Revolutionary War. At the battle of Springfield, New Jersey, on June 23, 1780, when his company ran out of wadding, Caldwell was said to have dashed into a nearby Presbyterian Church, scooped up as many Watts hymnals as he could carry, and distributed them to the troops, shouting “put Watts into them, boys.” Caldwell and his wife were both killed before the war ended.”


John Witherspoon

“John Witherspoon (1723-1794) was the most important “political parson” of the Revolutionary period. He represented New Jersey in the Continental Congress from 1776 to 1782, in which capacity he signed the Declaration of Independence and served on more than one hundred committees. As president of Princeton, Witherspoon was accused of turning the institution into a “seminary of sedition.”


Rhode Island College

“Completion of the College Edifice was delayed by the Revolution: The first two floors were finished and occupied by 1771-72, the third floor in 1785, and the fourth in 1788. The French troops quartered there during the war almost succeeded in dismantling it; luckily, their plan to strip and sell its boards was averted at the last minute. But generations of service as a dormitory nearly doomed it again in the 19th century, when it was rescued and renovated into offices.”


James Manning

“The Rev. James Manning was the college’s first president, as well as its first professor – of languages and “other Branches of Learning.”


Stephen Hopkins

“The College’s first Chancellor, Stephen Hopkins (1707–1785), was also a three – term governor of the colony, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and a delegate to the Continental Congress.”


King’s College

“In July 1754, Samuel Johnson held the first classes in a new schoolhouse adjoining Trinity Church, located on what is now lower Broadway in Manhattan. There were eight students in the class. At King’s College, the future leaders of colonial society could receive an education designed to “enlarge the Mind, improve the Understanding, polish the whole Man, and qualify them to support the brightest Characters in all the elevated stations in life.” One early manifestation of the institution’s lofty goals was the establishment in 1767 of the first American medical school to grant the MD degree.”


Ezra Stiles

Congregational minister at Newport, Rhode Island and Yale College president, 1775-1795.


John Carroll

Pius VI named John Carroll the first bishop of the United States in 1788.


John Carroll


A Quaker Schism

Some Quakers were conscientiously convinced that they could, despite the Friends’ peace testimony, take up arms against the British. Calling themselves “Free Quakers,” they organized in Philadelphia. The majority of Quakers adhered to the denomination’s traditional position of pacifism and disowned their belligerent brethren. This Free Quaker broadside declares that although the “regular” Quakers have “separated yourselves from us, and declared that you have no unity with us,” the schism does not compromise the Free Quakers’ rights to common property. To those of our Brethren who have disowned us. Broadside, July 9, 1781


Free Quaker Meeting House

The Free Quakers built this Meeting House in Philadelphia.


Maryland’s Revised Book of Common Prayer [Anglicans For the Revolution]

“The Maryland Convention voted on May 25, 1776, “that every Prayer and Petition for the King’s Majesty, in the book of Common Prayer . . . be henceforth omitted in all Churches and Chapels in this Province.” The rector of Christ Church (then called Chaptico Church) in St. Mary’s County, Maryland, placed over the offending passages strips of paper showing prayers composed for the Continental Congress. The petition that God “keep and strengthen in the true worshipping of thee, in righteousness and holiness of life, thy servant GEORGE, our most gracious King and Governour” was changed to a plea that “it might please thee to bless the honorable Congress with Wisdom to discern and Integrity to pursue the true Interest of the United States.”


Book of Common Prayer

“Christ Church, Philadelphia’s Revised Book of Common Prayer The problem was handled differently by Christ Church, Philadelphia. The rector, the Reverend Jacob Duché, called a special vestry meeting on July 4, 1776, to ask whether it was advisable “for the peace and welfare of the congregation, to shut up the churches or to continue the service, without using the prayers for the Royal Family.” The vestry decided to keep the church open but replace the prayers for the King with a prayer for Congress: “That is may please thee to endue the Congress of the United States & all others in Authority, legislative, executive, & judicial with grace, wisdom & understanding, to execute Justice and to maintain Truth.”


A Tory Preacher on the Attack

“More than half of the Anglican priests in America, unable to reconcile their oaths of allegiance to George III with the independence of the United States, relinquished their pulpits during the Revolutionary War. Some of the more intrepid priests put their loyalty to the Crown at the service of British forces in America. One of these, Jonathan Odell (1737-1818), rector at Burlington, New Jersey, became a confidant of Benedict Arnold and scourged the Patriots with a sharp, satirical pen. This long, rhymed attack on John Witherspoon contains the clumsy couplet, “Whilst to myself I’ve humm’d in dismal tune, I’d rather be a dog than Witherspoon.” Odell blasted his fellow Anglican ministers, who supported the American cause, for apostasy.” The American Times: A Satire in Three Parts in which are delineated . . . the Leaders of the American Rebellion Jonathan Odell, London: 1780


The Establishment of the Methodist Episcopal Church

“The independence of the United States stimulated American Methodists, as it did their brethren in the Church of England, with whom the Methodists had considered themselves “in communion,” to organize themselves as an independent, American church. This happened at the Christmas Conference in Baltimore in 1784, where Francis Asbury and Thomas Coke were elected as superintendents of the new Methodist Episcopal Church. Asbury was ordained as deacon, elder, and superintendent. American Methodists adopted the title of bishop for their leaders three years later.”


The Liberty Window

“At its initial meeting in September 1774 Congress invited the Reverend Jacob Duché (1738-1798), rector of Christ Church, Philadelphia, to open its sessions with prayer. Duché ministered to Congress in an unofficial capacity until he was elected the body’s first chaplain on July 9, 1776. He defected to the British the next year. Pictured here in the bottom stained-glass panel is the first prayer in Congress, delivered by Duché. The top part of this extraordinary stained glass window depicts the role of churchmen in compelling King John to sign the Magna Carta in 1215.” The Prayer in the First Congress, A.D. 1774 Stained glass and lead, from The Liberty Window, Christ Church, Philadelphia, after a painting by Harrison Tompkins Matteson, c. 1848 Courtesy of the Rector, Church Wardens and Vestrymen of Christ Church, Philadelphia (101)


Old North Church (Boston)


George Duffield, Congressional Chaplain

“On October 1, 1777, after Jacob Duché, Congress’s first chaplain, defected to the British, Congress appointed joint chaplains: William White (1748-1836), Duché’s successor at Christ Church, Philadelphia, and George Duffield (1732-1790), pastor of the Third Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia. By appointing chaplains of different denominations, Congress expressed a revolutionary egalitarianism in religion and its desire to prevent any single denomination from monopolizing government patronage. This policy was followed by the first Congress under the Constitution which on April 15, 1789, adopted a joint resolution requiring that the practice be continued.” George Duffield Oil on canvas by Charles Peale Polk, 1790 Independence National Historical Park Collection, Philadelphia (103)


Proposed Seal for the United States

“On July 4, 1776, Congress appointed Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams “to bring in a device for a seal for the United States of America.” Franklin’s proposal adapted the biblical story of the parting of the Red Sea (left). Jefferson first recommended the “Children of Israel in the Wilderness, led by a Cloud by Day, and a Pillar of Fire by night. . . .” He then embraced Franklin’s proposal and rewrote it (right). Jefferson’s revision of Franklin’s proposal was presented by the committee to Congress on August 20. Although not accepted these drafts reveal the religious temper of the Revolutionary period. Franklin and Jefferson were among the most theologically liberal of the Founders, yet they used biblical imagery for this important task.” Legend for the Seal of the United States, August 1776 [left side] – [right side] Holograph notes, Benjamin Franklin (left) and Thomas Jefferson (right) Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (104-105)


Congressional Fast Day Proclamation

“Congress proclaimed days of fasting and of thanksgiving annually throughout the Revolutionary War. This proclamation by Congress set May 17, 1776, as a “day of Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer” throughout the colonies. Congress urges its fellow citizens to “confess and bewail our manifold sins and transgressions, and by a sincere repentance and amendment of life, appease his [God’s] righteous displeasure, and through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, obtain his pardon and forgiveness.” Massachusetts ordered a “suitable Number” of these proclamations be printed so “that each of the religious Assemblies in this Colony, may be furnished with a Copy of the same” and added the motto “God Save This People” as a substitute for “God Save the King.” Congressional Fast Day Proclamation, March 16, 1776 Broadside Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (107)


Congressional Thanksgiving Day Proclamation

“Congress set December 18, 1777, as a day of thanksgiving on which the American people “may express the grateful feelings of their hearts and consecrate themselves to the service of their divine benefactor” and on which they might “join the penitent confession of their manifold sins . . . that it may please God, through the merits of Jesus Christ, mercifully to forgive and blot them out of remembrance.” Congress also recommends that Americans petition God “to prosper the means of religion for the promotion and enlargement of that kingdom which consisteth in righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.” Congressional Thanksgiving Day Proclamation, November 1, 1777 Broadside Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (108)


The 1779 Fast Day Proclamation

Here is the most eloquent of the Fast and Thanksgiving Day Proclamations. Congressional Fast Day Proclamation, March 20, 1779 Broadside Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (109)


Aitken’s Bible Endorsed by Congress

“The war with Britain cut off the supply of Bibles to the United States with the result that on Sept. 11, 1777, Congress instructed its Committee of Commerce to import 20,000 Bibles from “Scotland, Holland or elsewhere.” On January 21, 1781, Philadelphia printer Robert Aitken (1734-1802) petitioned Congress to officially sanction a publication of the Old and New Testament which he was reparing at his own expense. Congress “highly approve the pious and laudable undertaking of Mr. Aitken, as subservient to the interest of religion . . . in this country, and . . . they recommend this edition of the bible to the inhabitants of the United States.” This resolution was a result of Aitken’s successful accomplishment of his project.” Congressional resolution, September 12, 1782, endorsing Robert Aitken’s Bible [page 468] — [page 469] Philadelphia: David C. Claypoole, 1782 from the Journals of Congress Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (115)


Settling the West

“In the spring of 1785 Congress debated regulations for settling the new western lands–stretching from the Alleghenies to the Mississippi–acquired from Great Britain in the Peace Treaty of 1783. It was proposed that the central section in each newly laid out township be reserved for the support of schools and “the Section immediately adjoining the same to the northward, for the support of religion. The profits arising there from in both instances, to be applied for ever according to the will of the majority.” The proposal to establish religion in the traditional sense of granting state financial support to a church to be controlled by one denomination attracted support but was ultimately voted down.” An Ordinance for ascertaining the Mode of disposing of Lands in the Western Territory, 1785. Broadside, Continental Congress, 1785 Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (117)


Northwest Ordinance

“In the summer of 1787 Congress revisited the issue of religion in the new western territories and passed, July 13, 1787, the famous Northwest Ordinance. Article 3 of the Ordinance contained the following language: “Religion, Morality and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, Schools and the means of education shall be forever encouraged.” Scholars have been puzzled that, having declared religion and morality indispensable to good government, Congress did not, like some of the state governments that had written similar declarations into their constitutions, give financial assistance to the churches in the West.” An Ordinance for the Government of the Territory of the United States, North-West of the River Ohio, 1787 Broadside, Continental Congress, 1787 Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (118)


Christianizing the Delawares

“In this resolution, Congress makes public lands available to a group for religious purposes. Responding to a plea from Bishop John Ettwein (1721-1802), Congress voted that 10,000 acres on the Muskingum River in the present state of Ohio “be set apart and the property thereof be vested in the Moravian Brethren . . . or a society of the said Brethren for civilizing the Indians and promoting Christianity.” The Delaware Indians were the intended beneficiaries of this Congressional resolution.” Resolution granting lands to Moravian Brethren. [left page] – [right page] Records of the Continental Congress in the Constitutional Convention, July 27, 1787 National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C. (119)


Religion and the State Constitutions

[Note: the issue here centers on the new state constitution for Massachusetts under the charge of the Second Continental Congress to each of the colonies to write new state constitutions] “For Tax-Supported Religion Phillips Payson (1736-1801), Congregational minister at Chelsea, was a pillar of the established church in Massachusetts. Payson was widely admired for leading an armed group of parishioners into battle at Lexington in 1775. In this Election Sermon, Payson used an argument that was a staple of the Massachusetts advocates of state support of religion, insisting that “the importance of religion to civil society and government is great indeed . . . the fear and reverence of God and the terrors of eternity, are the most powerful restraints on the minds of men . . . let the restraints of religion once be broken down . . . and one might well defy all human wisdom and power to support and preserve order and government in the state.” A sermon preached before the honorable Council, and the honorable House of Representatives, of the State of Massachusetts-Bay, in New-England, at Boston, May 27, 1778 Phillips Payson, Boston: John Gill, 1778 Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (126)


Against State Supported Religion

[Note: the rebuttal to the above, re the Massachustees state constitution] “Isaac Backus (1724-1806) was the leader of the New England Baptists. In this response to Payson’s Election Sermon, Backus forcefully states the Baptists’ opposition to state support of the churches. This opposition was grounded in the Baptists’ reading of the New Testament and also of ecclesiastical history which demonstrated, that state support of religion inevitably corrupted the churches. Backus and other Baptist leaders agreed with their clerical adversaries in believing that religion was necessary for social prosperity and happiness but they believed that the best way for the state to assure the health of religion was to leave it alone and let it take its own course, which, the Baptists were convinced, would result in vital, evangelical religion covering the land.” Government and Liberty Described and Ecclesiastical Tyranny Exposed Isaac Backus, Boston: Powars and Willis, 1778 Courtesy of the John Carter Brown Library, Brown University (127)


A Proposal for Tax-Supported Religion for Virginia

“This broadside contains (at the bottom) the opening sections of Patrick Henry’s general assessment bill, one similar to those passed in the New England states. The bill levied a tax for the support of religion but permitted individuals to earmark their taxes for the church of their choice. At the top of the broadside are the results of a vote in the Virginia General Assembly to postpone consideration of the bill until the fall 1785 session of the legislature. Postponing the bill allowed opponents to mobilize and defeat it. Leading the forces for postponement was James Madison. Voting against postponement and, therefore, in support of a general tax for religion was the future Chief Justice of the United States, John Marshall.” A Bill Establishing a Provision for Teachers of the Christian Religion, Patrick Henry, Virginia House of Delegates, December 24, 1784. Broadside Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (133)


James Madison

“James Madison, the leading opponent of government-supported religion, combined both arguments in his celebrated Memorial and Remonstrance. In the fall of 1785, Madison marshaled sufficient legislative support to administer a decisive defeat to the effort to levy religious taxes. In place of Henry’s bill, Madison and his allies passed in January 1786 Thomas Jefferson’s famous Act for Establishing Religious Freedom, which brought the debate inVirginia to a close by severing, once and for all, the links between government and religion.”


The Atheist’s Bible

“Pious Americans were shocked by Thomas Paine’s The Age of Reason, part of which was written during the great pamphleteer’s imprisonment in Paris during the French Revolution. Although denounced as the “atheist’s bible,” Paine’s work was actually an exposition of a radical kind of deism and made an attempt at critical biblical scholarship that anticipated modern efforts. Paine created a scandal by his sardonic and irreverent tone. Assertions that the virgin birth was “blasphemously obscene” and other similarly provocative observations convinced many readers that the treatise was the entering wedge in the United States of French revolutionary “infidelity.” The Age of Reason. Being an Investigation of True and Fabulous Theology. Thomas Paine. Philadelphia: Printed and sold by the Booksellers, 1794 Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (181)


Paine Rebuked

“Even before the publication of the Age of Reason, Thomas Paine was hated and feared for his political and religious radicalism by conservatives in England, where he had periodically lived since 1787. Paine fled to France in December 1792 to avoid trial for treason. In this cartoon, Paine sleeps on a straw pillow wrapped in an American flag, inscribed “Vive L’ America.” In his pocket is a copy of Common Sense. On the headboard are his two “Guardian Angels”: Charles James Fox and Joseph Priestley. An imp drops a French Revolutionary song as he flees through a window, draped in curtains decorated with the fleur-de-lis. Confronting Paine are the spirits of three judges who will try him. The presiding judge declares that Paine will die like a dog on the gallows.” Tom Paine’s Nightly Pest. Engraving by James Gillray. London: published by H. Humphrey, 1792 Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (182)


The Tree of Life (narrative)

“The evangelical spirit was embodied in men like John Hagerty (b. 1747), a Methodist preacher who established himself as a Baltimore printer-publisher specializing in evangelical works. Hagerty in 1791 published prints depicting a Tree of Life, a Tree of Virtues and a Tree of Vices, motifs used in religious art for centuries. The Tree of Life brings forth, under the redemptive rays of God as Father, Spirit and Word, twelve fruits of salvation for those seeking entry into the New Jerusalem. A large crowd strolls by the narrow gate of salvation along the Broad Way to the Devil and “babylon Mother of Harlots” beckon. The secure sinners are stigmatized with labels indicating: “pride,” “chambering & wantonness,” “quack,” “usury,” and “extortion.” The Tree of Life Hand-colored engraving. Baltimore: printed for John Hagerty, 1791 Maryland Historical Society Library, Baltimore, Maryland (183)


Outdoor Communion

“The Kentucky revivals originated with Presbyterians and emerged from marathon outdoor “communion seasons,” which were a feature of Presbyterian practice in Scotland.” Sacramental Scene in a Western Forest Lithograph by P.S. Duval, ca. 1801, from Joseph Smith, Old Redstone. Copyprint. Philadelphia: 1854. General Collections, Library of Congress (184)


Camp Meeting Plan

“This sketch, by Benjamin Latrobe, shows the layout of an 1809 Methodist camp meeting in Fairfax County, Virginia. Note that the men’s seats were separated from the women’s and the “negro tents” from the whites.’ This is an example of the racial segregation that prompted black Methodists to withdraw from the denomination a few years later and form their own independent Methodist church. To accommodate the powerful, at times uncontrollable, emotions generated at a camp meeting, Latrobe indicated that, at the right of the main camp, the organizers had erected “a boarded enclosure filled with straw, into which the converted were thrown that they might kick about without injuring themselves.” Plan of the Camp, August 8, 1809 Journal of Benjamin Latrobe, August 23, 1806- August 8, 1809 Sketch by Benjamin Henry Latrobe Latrobe Papers, Manuscript Department, Maryland Historical Society, Baltimore (185)


Religious Revival in America

“In 1839 J. Maze Burbank exhibited at the Royal Society in London this watercolor of “a camp meeting, or religious revival in America, from a sketch taken on the spot.” It is not known where, when, or under whose auspices the revival painted by Burbank occurred.” Religious Camp Meeting. Watercolor by J. Maze Burbank, c. 1839 Old Dartmouth Historical Society-New Bedford Whaling Museum, New Bedford, Massachusetts. Gift of William F. Havemeyer (187)


Methodist Camp Meeting, March 1, 1819

Engraving Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. (186)


Circuit Preaching

“The Methodist Circuit rider, ministering to the most remote, inhospitable parts of the nation, was one of the most familiar symbols of the “evangelical empire” in the United States. The saddle bags, seen here, belonged to the Reverend Samuel E. Alford, who rode circuits in northwestern Virginia, eastern West Virginia, and western Maryland.” The Circuit Preacher Engraving of a drawing by A. R. Waud, from Harper’s Weekly, October 12, 1867. Copyprint Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (209)


Bishops of the African Methodist Episcopal Church

“In the center is Richard Allen, founder of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, surrounded by ten bishops of the church. At the upper left and right corners are pictures of Wilberforce University and Payne Institute; other scenes in the life of the church are depicted, including the sending of missionaries to Haiti in 1824.” Bishops of the A.M.E. Church. Engraving by John H. W. Burley, Washington, D. C., 1876. Boston: J. H. Daniels, 1876 Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (190)


Sarah Allen, wife of Richard Allen


Woman Preacher of the A.M.E. Church

“The black churches were graced by eloquent female preachers from their earliest days, although there was, as in the white churches, resistance in many quarters to the idea of women preaching the Gospel.” Mrs. Juliann Jane Tillman, Preacher of the A.M.E. Church. Engraving by P. S. Duval, after a painting by Alfred Hoffy, Philadelphia, 1844


Absalom Jones

“Born a slave in Delaware, Absalom Jones (1746-1818), was a founding member of the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas in Philadelphia, dedicated on July 17, 1794. A year later Jones was ordained as the first black Episcopal priest in the United States.” Absalom Jones Oil on canvas on board by Raphaelle Peale, 1810 Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington. Gift of the Absalom Jones School (193)


Religious Exuberance

“Emotional exuberance was characteristic of evangelical religion in both the white and black communities in the first half of the nineteenth century. Negro Methodists Holding a Meeting in a Philadelphia Alley.” Watercolor by John Lewis Krimmel The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rogers Fund, 1942 (194)


Jerking Exercise

“Lorenzo Dow (1777-1834) was a spellbinding but eccentric traveling Methodist evangelist who could still a turbulent camp meeting with “the sound of his voice or at the sight of his fragile but awe-inspiring presence.” Dow’s audiences often exhibited unusual physical manifestations under the influence of his impassioned preaching.” Lorenzo Dow and the Jerking Exercise. Engraving by Lossing-Barrett, from Samuel G. Goodrich, Recollections of a Lifetime. Copyprint. New York: 1856 General Collections, Library of Congress (195)


The Shakers

“The Shakers, or the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Coming, were founded by Mother Ann Lee, a stalwart in the ‘Shaking Quakers’ who migrated to America from England in 1774. American Shakers shared with the Quakers a devotion to simplicity in conduct and demeanor and to spiritual equality.” They “acquired their nickname from their practice of whirling, trembling or shaking during religious services.” The Shakers used dancing as a worship practice. They often danced in concentric circles and sometimes in the style shown here. Shaker emissaries from New York visited Kentucky in the early years of the nineteenth century to assess the revivals under way there and made a modest number of converts.” Shakers near Lebanon state of N York, their mode of worship. Stipple and line engraving, drawn from life. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (196)


19th-Century Religious Leaders

“Two of these pioneers, Barton Stone and Alexander Campbell, were Presbyterian ministers who, for different reasons, left the denomination and formed, in 1832, the Disciples of Christ. While an active Presbyterian minister, Stone organized the powerful Cane Ridge revival, near Lexington, Kentucky in the summer of 1800.” Pioneers in the Great Religious Reformation of the Nineteenth Century. Steel engraving by J. C. Buttre, after a drawing by J. D. C. McFarland, c. 1885 Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (197)


The Distribution of Religious Literature

“The American Tract Society, founded in 1825, was one of the most influential of the scores of benevolent societies that flourished in the United States in the first decades of the nineteenth century. The Tract Society, through the efforts of thousands of families like the one shown here, flooded the nation with evangelical pamphlets, aimed at converting their recipients and eradicating social vices like alcoholism and gambling that impeded conversion. In the first decade of its existence the American Tract Society is estimated to have distributed 35 million evangelical books and tracts.” Family handing out tracts Woodcut by Anderson from he American Tract Magazine, August 1825. American Tract Society, Garland, Texas (205)


Evangelical Tracts, American Tract Society


Second Great Awakening

Typical camp meeting of the 19th century. Courtesy North Carolina State Archives


Charles Grandison Finney

Charles Finney about the time of the publication of his Systematic Theology.


Phoebe Palmer

Palmer began preaching the Methodist ideas of perfectionism in 1835 and applied them in a dedication to social reform and humanitarian works.


Joseph Smith

Joseph Smith, Jr. (1805–44), often referred to as the Prophet Joseph Smith, was the founding prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


The Mormon Temple, Salt Lake City


Joseph Smith’s First Vision


The Angel Moroni

“The angel Moroni is the heavenly messenger who first visited the Prophet Joseph Smith in 1823. As a mortal named Moroni 2, he had completed the compilation and writing of the Book of Mormon. He ministered to Joseph Smith as a resurrected being, in keeping with his responsibility for the Book of Mormon, inasmuch as “the keys of the record of the stick of Ephraim” had been committed to him by the Lord (D&C 27:5). Pursuant to this responsibility he first appeared to Joseph Smith on the night of September 21-22, 1823 (JS-H 1:29-49; D&C 128:20), and thereafter counseled with him in several reappearances until the book was published in 1830. During that time, he instructed Joseph Smith, testified to the Three Witnesses of the Book of Mormon, and otherwise assisted in the work of restoring the gospel.”


Mormon History, Fayette, New York

“Reconstructed log home at the site of the Peter Whitmer, Sr., home in Fayette, New York. Here the Book of Mormon translation was completed, the testimony of the Three Witnesses was signed (June, 1829), and the Church was organized on April 6, 1830. Twenty revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants were received here. Courtesy LaMar C. Barrett.”


Mormon History, Nauvoo

“A daguerreotype of the Nauvoo Temple (c. 1846). The Latter-day Saints worked to complete this building and receive the ordinances of the temple before they left Nauvoo for the West. The temple was completed in 1846, burned by an arsonist in 1848, largely demolished by a tornado in 1850, and completely leveled in 1856 for safety reasons.”


Mormon History: Martyrdom of Joseph Smith (Carthage Jail)

“This etching by Charles B. Hall shows the Carthage Jail (c. 1885), where Joseph and Hyrum Smith were martyred. They were shot by a mob in the upstairs bedroom of the jailor’s quarters on June 27, 1844.” Courtesy Rare Books and Manuscripts, Brigham Young University.


The Book of Mormon

“The Book of Mormon, the fundamental testament of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was published by Joseph Smith in 1830. According to a standard reference work, Smith translated it from “golden plates engraved in a language referred to as reformed Egyptian.’ The plates, which were seen and handled by 11 witnesses, deal chiefly with the inhabitants of the American continents spanning the period 600 B.C. to A.D. 421. The plates relate the sacred history of Israelites who, led by a divinely directed righteous man named Lehi, emigrated from Jerusalem to the New World, where Christ appearedand gave them his teachings. The record of their experiences, kept by various prophets, was compiled and abridged by the 5th century prophet Mormon. . .” Book of Mormon: An Account written by the Hand of Mormon, upon plates taken from the Plates of Nephi Joseph Smith, Junior. Palmyra, N.Y.: E.B. Grandin, 1830 Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (198)


The Murder of Joseph and Hiram Smith

“The murder of Joseph Smith and his brother, Hiram, by a mob in Carthage, Illinois, prompted the Mormons, under the leadership of Brigham Young, to migrate in 1846-1847 to Utah, where they found a permanent home. Although accounts differ, Joseph Smith was apparently shot to death by a mob, one of whose members approached him with the intention, which was thwarted, of beheading him.” Martyrdom of Joseph and Hiram Smith in Carthage Jail, June 27, 1844 Tinted lithograph by Nagel & Weingaertner, after C. G. Crehen. New York: 1851 Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (199)


Migration to Utah (Mormons)

This map shows the route of the migration of the Mormons from Illinois to Utah. Route of the Mormon Pioneers from Nauvoo to Great Salt Lake, Feb’y 1846-July 1847. Map, copyright by Millroy and Bates, 1899. Facsimile Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress (200)


Mormon History: Martyrdom of Joseph Smith (Carthage Jail) (Second)

“Martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum, by Gary E. Smith (1980s, oil on canvas, 48′ x 60′). On June 27, 1844, Joseph Smith, age 38, and his loyal brother Hyrum were shot in the Carthage Jail by a mob. Couresy Blaine T. Hudson.


Brigham Young

“Brigham Young (1801-1877), leader, builder, father, governor, preacher, and colonizer, was the President of the Church for 29 years, longer than any other man. His wisdom was expansive and practical, with a spontaneous power and compelling charisma”. Courtesy Utah State Historical Society


Brigham Young’s Home, Salt Lake City

“Brigham Young’s home, the Lion House, in 1858. Known as the “Lion of the Lord,” Brigham Young laid out the city of Salt Lake, commenced the construction of the Salt Lake Temple, and oversaw the building of the Salt Lake Tabernacle, other temples, schools, roads, hospitals, theaters, canals and mills.” Photograph by surveyor D.A. Burr.


Brigham Young and His Wives

“Brigham Young with pictures of 21 of his wives. Permission from the first wife was sought and approval from the appropriate leader was required to practice plural marriage. Many had only one or two wives; it was unusual to have more than four. The Manifesto of 1890 officially ended the Church practice of plural marriages.” Photograph created 1901, Johnson Co.


Mormon History: Sidney Rigdon

“Sidney Rigdon (1793-1876), formerly a Baptist-Campbellite minister, was one of the most important early converts to the Church. He served as counselor in the First Presidency, experienced revelations together with Joseph Smith, and was a gifted orator.” Courtesy the Utah State Historical Society.


Mormon History: The Exodus

“Crossing the Mississippi on the Ice, by C. C. A. Christensen (late nineteenth century, tempera on canvas, 6′ 6′ x 9′ 9′). Forced by persecution from Nauvoo in early 1846, some Latter-day Saints crossed the Mississippi into Iowa during weather so bitterly cold that wagon trains could cross safely on the ice.” Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Brigham Young University.


The Shakers

Shaker houses, Enfield, CT. Wood engraving after drawings by John Barber.

Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village. View from the North West, West Gloucester, ME.


Absalom Jones

Reverend Absalom Jones, the first African-American Episcopal priest, and founder of St. Thomas African Episcopal Church in Philadelphia, the first African-American Episcopal church in the U.S. Wood engraving, early 1800s


Indian Religions

“An Iroquois funeral as observed by a French Jesuit missionary, early 1700s At left: the corpse with items to be buried with him At right: the burial pit being lined with animal skins.” Detail from Joseph-François Lafitau, Moeurs des sauvages amériquains comparées aux moeurs des premiers temps (Customs of the American Indians compared with the customs of primitive times [in Europe]), 1724. The Library Company of Philadelphia


Religion and the American Revolution

“This 1762 cartoon depicts the angry response of Boston Congregationalists to the specter of an Anglican bishop being appointed by the King. Note the blend of civil and religious rebellion in the banner (left): “No Lords, Spiritual or Temporal in New England.” The note near the rat reads “Shall they be obliged to maintain Bishops that cannot maintain themselves?” How does this statement relate to the cry “No taxation without representation?”


Jews in the Civil War

Rabbi Dr. Arnold Fischel (1830-1894) Photograph courtesy [A collection of letters follows here, dated and accessible in full. This section represents one of many that amount to a large documentary record of Jewish Civil War experiences and views]


Lucretia Mott

Quaker, Free Religious Association (reformer: abolition, feminism, peace, temperance, liberal religion)


Orestes Brownson

The 19th century’s most famous American convert to Catholicism and the intellectual prodigious editor of Brownson’s Quarterly Review.


Isaac Hecker

A portrait of one of the 19th century’s most famous Catholic converts.


Margaret Fuller

Fuller was a leading Transcendentalist and author of the feminist classic Women in the Nineteenth Century.


William Ellery Channing

“William Ellery Channing (1780-1842) was a pivotal figure in the literary and religious life in nineteenth-century America. Variously remembered as a Unitarian minister, a foe of slavery, and an ssayist, much of his influence has now waned.”


Ralph Waldo Emerson


Isaac Lesser

Born in 1806 in Prussia Leeser came to Virginia at the age of eighteen. A prolific writer he contributed substantially to Judaism in the United States.


Mother Bethel A.M.A. Church (Philadelphia)

“Construction of Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia, shown in this 1804 engraving, was completed in1805. It replaced the original structure, a renovated blacksmith shop in which the church was founded by Richard Allen in 1794. Image Credit: The Library Company of Philadelphia ”


Black People’s Prayer Meeting (ca 1811)

“In the summer of 1811, twenty-three-year-old Pavel Svinin arrived in Philadelphia to serve as secretary to the Russian consul. When he departed two years later, he had amassed a collection of 52 watercolors, which he intended to use as illustrations for his travel memoirs about the United States. Fourteen of the images were purchased from John Lewis Krimmel, a young German immigrant who painted images of street life in Philadelphia, including Black People’s Prayer Meeting, a caricature of a Methodist religious service.”


Portrait of Jarena Lee, 1844

“A portrait of Jarena Lee, the first woman to preach from the pulpit of Richard Allen’s Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, was painted from life for the frontispiece of her autobiographical book, Religious Experience and Journal of Mrs. Jarena Lee… The portrait shows Lee seated and simply dressed, with a quill in her hand and papers and books, including the Holy Bible, on the table before her. The composition of the image was meant to convey that Lee was not only a religious woman, but a literate one as well. The caption below reads: “Mrs. Jarena Lee. Preacher of the A,M,E, Church. Aged 60 years on the 11th day of the 2nd month 1844. Philadelphia 1844.” Image Credit: From the collections of the Library of Congress


Meeting in the African Church, Cincinnati, Ohio, 1853

“This engraving from the April 30, 1853 edition of the Illustrated News shows the congregation of Cincinnati’s African Church. The churchgoers are kneeling or have their arms raised in prayer, while a man with outstretched arms stands before them at the podium. Although located in a free state, Cincinnati was located just across the river from slave-holding Kentucky, making it a popular location for both free and fugitive blacks. Between 1820 and 1829,Cincinnati’s black population grew from 2 percent to nearly 10 percent of the ciy’s population. The city’s Overseers of the Poor responded to this growth by enforcing the state’s “black laws” which required blacks to register with the county clerk to ensure that they were not fugitives and to obtain a certificate to work. Blacks in the city were given 30 days to comply or leave the state. White mobs forced more than a thousand blacks to leave the city, prompting the organization of the National Black Convention movement, which met for the first time in Richard Allen’s Bethel AME Church in Philadelphia in 1830.” By the 1850s, when the Illustrated News published this image of the African Church, increasing numbers of blacks from Pennsylvania had begun migrating to Cincinnati. Image Credit: From the collections of the Library of Congress Image Credit: The Granger Collection, New York


Nat Turner preaches religion

“This drawing shows Nat Turner preaching in the forest. In his “Confession,” Turner said, “Knowing the influence I had obtained over the minds of my fellow-servants…by the communion of the Spirit, whose revelations I often communicated to them… I nowbegan to prepare them for my purpose.”


Nat Turner

“This image portrays the discovery of Nat Turner. After state and federal troops dispersed Turner’s forces, he escaped and hid in several different places near the farm where he had been a slave. His hiding place was discovered by a dog, and on October 30 he was captured.” Image Credit: From the collections of the Library of Congress Discovery of Nat Turner


Jews and the Civil War

The Civil War divided Jews much as it did he nation as a whole. There were Jews in the North and Jews in the South, Jews who supported slavery and Jews who condemned it, Jews who fought for the Union and Jews who fought for the Confederacy. If in many respects the Civil War affected Jews much as it did other Americans, there were nevertheless three features of the struggle that affected Jews uniquely.


Civil War Chaplains

“For both moral and political reasons, Lincoln wanted each unit to have it’s own Chaplain. The War Department’s issue of General Orders 15 and 16, Lincoln’s wish was granted in the fact that a Regiment was to elect or appoint a Chaplain. This man thus appointed had to be an ordained minister of a Christian denomination and approved by the Governor of the state from wh8ich the volunteer regiment came.”


Confederate Chaplains


Civil War Chaplains (Catholic)

“First photograph of a religious service in the U.S. Army: Mass in the field for the soldiers of the 69th New York Regiment prior to the first Battle of Bull Run in July 1861. The Civil War for the first time witnessed a large number of Roman Catholic chaplains in the field.”


Civil War Chaplain (first African American)

“The Civil War also marked for the first time the large-scale use of black troops in the Army on a regular basis, both in combat and support functions. By the end of the war there were 158 black regiments in the Union Army. Although all of the officers and most of the chaplains with these regiments were white, twelve of the regiments had black chaplains. The first black chaplain is considered to be the Reverend Henry McNeal Turner, a pastor from Baltimore, Maryland. In 1863 Turner became the chaplain of the 1st Regiment, U.S. Colored Troops. He served until 1865, and later “became a member of the Georgia legislature, a Bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, a founder of several religious journals, and a college president.”


Civil War Chaplain (Jewish)

“The first authorized Jewish chaplain in the U.S. Army, Rabbi Jacob Frankel, of Philadelphia’s Roden Shalom Congregation was commissioned by President Lincoln on 18 September 1862. He served until 1 July 1865.”


Civil War Chaplains (Female)

“A milestone in the Civil War second was the election of Mrs. Ella E. Gibson Hobart, a member of the Religio-Philosophical Society of Saint Charles, Illinois, as the chaplain of the 1st Wisconsin Regiment of Heavy Artillery. Chaplain Hobart, whose husband was also a chaplain, served in this position for a number on months in 1864, until Secretary of War Stanton refused to recognize her status because of her sex and the War Department’s desire not to establish a precedent. President Lincoln wrote that he had “no objection to her appointment,” but felt that the final decision was up to Secretary Stanto.”


Army Chaplain in the Spanish-American War

“Rev. Henry A. Brown conducting services for the Rough Riders As in the Revolution, The Mexican War, and the Civil War, the Spanish-American War of 1898 saw a large number of clergymen rally to the colors in order to serve with newly raised volunteer regiments. This war was the first in which chaplains accompanied American troops overseas. It was also the first war in which chaplains went into the conflict as officially designated noncombatants, since the United States had signed the Geneva Conventions in 1882. In this brief war, less than four months long, only a limited number of chaplains saw combat.”


Jews in the American West: San Francisco

“This congregation was organized in San Francisco in 1849. Having no permanent building of its own, it held its religious services in various places which, from time to time, were destroyed by fire. Finally the congregation became tired of shifting about and in 1852 bought a place on Stockton Street and asked for contributions to build a synagogue. They were successful in securing enough money: the cornerstone was laid by Dr. Julius Eckmann on August sixth, and the building itself consecrated on September eighth. Thus the building was completed in the incredibly brief period of a month, although, it is true, with only a brick front.”


Jews in the American West: German Jews in San Francisco

The synagogue of this congregation was dedicated on September 14, 1854, by the Rev. Dr. Julius Eckmann, their first rabbi. It is the largest and costliest synagogue in the city: it cost $35,000. Unlike Congregation Sherith Israel, this congregation has had many changes since its organization, particularly since Dr. Elkan Cohn, the present preacher, became the head of it. Averse to all Orthodoxy, he has introduced “Reform” in its place. Dr. Cohn is a very eloquent preacher, a scholar and a gentleman, and much beloved by every Israelite of San Francisco.