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The Democratization of American Christianity

The Democratization of American Christianity In this prize winning book Nathan O Hatch offers a provocative reassessment of religion and culture in the early days of the American republic arguing that during this period American Christianity wa

  • Title: The Democratization of American Christianity
  • Author: Nathan O. Hatch
  • ISBN: 9780300050608
  • Page: 379
  • Format: Paperback
  • In this prize winning book Nathan O Hatch offers a provocative reassessment of religion and culture in the early days of the American republic, arguing 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 nineteenthIn this prize winning book Nathan O Hatch offers a provocative reassessment of religion and culture in the early days of the American republic, arguing 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 Rarely do works of scholarship deserve as much attention as this one 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 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 The manuscript version of this book was awarded the 1988 Albert C Outler Prize in Ecumenical Church History from the American Society of Church History Awarded the 1989 book prize of the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic for the best book in the history of the early republic 1789 1850 Co winner of the 1990 John Hope Franklin Publication Prize given by the American Studies Association for the best book in American Studies Nathan O Hatch is professor of history and vice president for Graduate Studies and Research at the University of Notre Dame.

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    1. Nathan O. Hatch

      Nathan O. Hatch Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the The Democratization of American Christianity book, this is one of the most wanted Nathan O. Hatch author readers around the world.

    668 Comments

    1. Excellent, though too short to do justice to some of the questions it raises. Hatch takes for granted the latter-day consensus history of Gordon Wood and Joyce Appleby; that is, he uses the concepts of liberalism, democracy, and populism as virtual synonyms, and sees liberal democracy as the controlling idiom of early nineteenth-century America. But he also briefly but earnestly acknowledges the dark side of these modes of thought. For Hatch's purposes, this paradigm works pretty well, since he [...]


    2. Excellent book. If you only read one book about the Second Great Awakening kind of book. Great combination of a very clear thesis and lots of well-organized evidence. And evidence from an array of religious groups…Hatch doesn’t try to make just the Methodists or Mormons speak for the 2nd GA. He covers the Methodists and Mormons a lot, but also Baptist groups, the Christians/Disciples of Christ, the rise of African-American Methodist and Baptist churches, the Adventists a little…really, he [...]


    3. One of the most fascinating yet often ignored periods of American history is the era of the early republic. Americans are of course familiar with the American Revolution, but rarely explore what happened in the years after the Constitution was ratified. These were formative and contentious years that helped set the direction the country would eventually take. Foundational to an understanding of this era would be a study of the explosive growth and influence of religion. In The Democratization of [...]


    4. The Democratization of American Christianity is a immensely interesting picture of Protestant Christianity in the earliest days of the American republic. Hatch demonstrates that the egalitarian, populist impulses behind Jeffersonian anti-federalism were just as strong, if not stronger, in the early American church as he covers the rise to prominence of five Protestant sects/movements in America: the American Methodists, American Baptists, Mormons, Christians (American Restoration Movement), and [...]


    5. One of the best ways to understand American Christianity. Hatch is engaging in a broad-brush description, but I believe he's still the standard on revivalism and the late 18th and early 19th cent. American church scene.


    6. Chapter One: Introduction: Democracy and ChristianityHatch opens by noting the explosive growth in Baptist and Methodist denominations from the Revolution to the middle of the 19th Century, at which time they greatly overshadowed the once dominant Congregational establishment of New England. These denominations' growth was the fruit of the Second Great Awakening, and it was this movement that did more to Christianize the American nation than at any other time in its history. But the other major [...]


    7. This book accomplishes what it claims to in its second sentence, arguing "that the theme of democratization is central to understanding the development of American Christianity." A fascinating read that answers a lot of questions about the uniqueness of American Christianity, and even why an infinite number of protestant denominations have endured so long in this land. Most fascinating to me was how fertile heresy is in the soil of democracy. Popular phrases such as "Just me and my bible", "I ha [...]


    8. I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to learn about the history of the christian church after the American Revolution. I also recommend it to anyone wanting to learn how present-day American Christianity has been formed.One of the points that struck me is how, despite the fact that many of these 'insurgent' denominations(like the Mormons, Baptists, Methodists and etc.) preached an egalitarian Christianity, they themselves eventually became hierchical. For instance, even though Joseph Smith co [...]


    9. This book describes how the hierarchical culture in the Christian church in pre-Revolutionary War times was transformed by "democratization." It's crucial for understanding how much of American evangelical Christianity became the way it is today, with the advent of vernacular language, revivalistic preaching, popular music, and in general "new methods." The Church is constantly in a tension between traditionalists and folks favoring "new methods" to reach people. This is one of my favorite books [...]


    10. Helpful account of the mass religious movements that took place in the early nineteenth century. This is largely the legacy of the 2nd Great Awakening we see in the church today when evangelism and worship where truth, or what's left of it, is driven by emotion rather than emotion driven by truth. The fact that emotions should be driven appropriately is something all biblicists should note. Certainly some the democratization of American Christianity was reactionary to dead or dusty orthodoxy. Th [...]


    11. this book really helped me to understand how the church in America got where it is today and why it is so different in some ways from the churches in Europe.Also help me to understand rugged individualism and the way it affects people's perception of church and community.



    12. A MUST read for contemporary evangelicals--to discover who they are, where they've come from, and why they think/believe what they do.


    13. #boredOne of the most boring books I've read for grad school yet. I can see the significance of the work, and Hatch makes some compelling points, but his writing is dull and lifeless.


    14. Extremely illuminating to see the journey of American Evangelicalism and other religious sects. Really helps put things in perspective.


    15. The Democratization of American Christianity is one of those classics which the student of early American history and the student of the history of religion and/or culture in the United States should not miss. Dr. Hatch published this award-winning book when he taught at Notre Dame University but he has been president at Wake Forest University for a long time at this point. His book sets out one of the 2 key views of how to understand the Second Great Awakening and the explosive growth of variou [...]


    16. A good book that I highly recommend, a decent summary on a part of Christianity that's not always the easiest to understand.



    17. This is an amazing history book chronicling the democratization of American Christianity during the early days of the republic, specifically from 1780-1830. Nathan Hatch examines how the rallying calls of the American Revolution - for fraternity, equality and liberty - fused with American religious life, particularly that of the Methodists, Baptists, Disciples, the black church and Mormons. This led to Americans disdaining hierarchy and becoming indignant against the clergy. American Christians [...]


    18. Upon re-reading in June 2017: The book is a product of the Reagan 1980s. It celebrates the individual spirit in American Protestantism, the hard work of new religious inventors such as Joseph Smith and Lorenzo Dow, and the free market competition of new religions. Yet the book still works. Why? Because Hatch is onto something with his emphasis on the populist spirit in American Christianity. The Second Great Awakening sold the vision of free will — specifically the power to choose one's salva [...]


    19. I can't recall what book recommended this as essential, but it is, without being as good as it should be - it's on the anti-Establishment (in the 1960s sense) of American Methodist and Baptist preachers in the 1776-1830 period, guys of whom I was completely unaware, who were opposed to Jonathan Edwards and the New England orthodoxy from the right, as it were, not from the left like the Unitarians. At the same time in England, Methodists and other dissenting sects were trying to move up the socia [...]


    20. Superb analysis of an often overlooked era of American religion (1780-1830) and the populist, democratic movements that animated the age. Though Hatch's class-based analysis will certainly alienate many (who might smell a whiff of neo-Marxist social theory), his sobering conclusions about the tendency for movements to eventually sell out toward the pursuit of upward mobility and respectability are prophetic, a message for the non-theologian and historical theologian alike. Particularly damning a [...]


    21. Rereading Hatch's argument about the effects of the Second Great Awakening, the dismissal of hierarchy by many Christians in the aftermath of Revolution, and the advance of democratic religion. Perhaps it is difficult to put the Disciples of Christ, the Methodists, the Baptists, the Mormons, and African-American Christianity all together in one tent but his argument remains bracing and explanatory of the rise and expansion of these forms in this time period and their influence through to today i [...]


    22. This book is fundamental for understanding the shifts in American Christianity from the 18th through the late 19th century, and into the present mainline/evangelical tensions. Hatch does a wonderful job of capturing the spirit, energy, and motivations behind the popular explosions of Christianity that come to be labeled under the headings of "Great Awakening" (first and second). Particularly keen in this book is the inclusion of popular rhetoric from Christians, Baptists and Methodists about the [...]


    23. Read it for class and it was a great addition to the other two textbooks (mind, reading all three of them did make some things feel a bit repetitive.) This one was by far the most detailed, especially for the years 1800-1830. I can see why the majority of the references in my professor's lectures comes from this book. A great read if you're interested in the subject. Being printed in 1989 I would however have loved a second, updated foreword or epilogue on the author's take on today's situation. [...]


    24. Hatch argues that the liberalizing influences of the early republican period definitively transformed American Christianity. He concentrates his study on American Methodism, Baptist, Mormonism, and African American churches, to show how each offered new religious possibilities to common citizens and marginalized social groups, by democratizing American Protestantism and diminishing the religious authority of educated and elitist clergymen.


    25. In response to the surge of studies highlighting the Great Awakening's role in fostering revolution, Hatch seeks to demonstrate the influence of democracy on religious life in America. Hatch presents an analysis of a certain type of tree and its place in the forest, rather than a comprehensive study of the complex jungle that is American Christianity in the early 19th century. The epilogue critiquing recent interpretations of the 2nd Great Awakening was worth the price of the book.


    26. Many have studied how religion affected the American Revolution, but Hatch's book shows how the Revolution in turn affected American Christianity. The effect, it turns out, was rather, well, revolutionary. Hatch's thesis seems very solid and well-documented, though the book is somewhat dry (which is why I give it only three stars).


    27. According to Nathan Hatch, the interplay between our young nation's politics and its Christian citizens resulted in the creation of the seemingly endless number of Christian denominations (and non-denominations) that exist today. Read this if you want to understand the history behind your particular version of Christianity.


    28. If you want to know what's wrong with American Christianity, this is a helpful book to get you thinking. The revolution and democracy got everybody thinking, "everybody is wrong but ME!" It kind of makes me reevaluate my own motives for going into the ministry. If I wasn't such an individualistic American, would it have ever entered my mind to become a pastor? I'm not sure.


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