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Religion in American History

Spring Semester, 2001
Dr. Tallant's Classes

The American Studies Major

Department of History

Georgetown College Home Page

Baptists: Online Sources

Knight Hall Chapel 002 | 10:00-10:50 MWF | 3 Credit Hours

Assignments

Exams: All exams will be essay exams. Three exams will be given during the course of the semester. Each of these exams will cover about one-third of the course material and each will count for 25 percent of the student's final grade. The first two exams have been tentatively scheduled for February 19 and April 6. The third exam will be given during the final exam period on Tuesday, May 8, at 12:00-2:00.

Religious Biography Web Sites: In the last five years, the Internet has emerged rapidly to join print publications and oral presentations as important media for the presentation of scholarship. Accordingly, students need to become better acquainted with methods and issues related to the presentation of scholarship via the World Wide Web.

Each student will research an American religious leader who had a significant im-pact on the development of American society and present their findings in scholarly form on the course web site. Course examinations will include questions drawn from the stu-dent web sites. Suggested biographical subjects and due dates are listed below.

Biographical reports should focus on the significance of the individual for Ameri-can history. The details of the individualís childhood, marriage, and career should be covered ONLY if these details are directly related to the personís principal contributions to American history. From past experience with similar assignments, the professor STRONGLY CAUTIONS students not to neglect the substantive content of their reports while adapting material for visual presentation on the Internet. More detailed instructions will be given later in the semester about the mechanics of creating web pages and about other issues related to the presentation of scholarship in electronic rather than printed for-mat.

The web site will count for 25 percent of the studentís final grade. Students must pick the subject of their report and have the subject approved by Dr. Tallant by January 24.

SUGGESTED SUBJECTS FOR AMERICAN RELIGIOUS BIOGRAPHY WEB SITES: The following is a partial listing of religious figures who had a significant impact on American history for use in student web sites. (This list is not intended to be a comprehensive listing of the most important American religious figures. It is intended to provide coverage of several important persons who we will not have time in class to cover in sufficient detail.) Students may, with Dr. Tallant's permission, pick a subject which is not listed below. The date listed in the left column is the date the web page for a particular topic is due.

WEEK 3 (Jan. 29-Feb. 2): 2 reports
  • Feb. 2: Calvert Family of Maryland-The Catholic founders of the colony of Maryland.
  • Feb. 2: James E. Oglethorpe-Philanthropist, soldier, and founder of colony of Georgia.
  • Feb. 2: John Cotton-An influential and controversial minister in early Massachusetts Bay.
  • Feb. 2: Anne Hutchinson-The leading figure in the Antinomian Controversy of the Massachusetts Bay colony, Hutchinson was expelled from the colony for her radical religious views and her challenge to governing authorities in both church and state.
  • Feb. 2: Roger Williams-Puritan dissident and founder of Rhode Island. Remembered often as the founder of what was literally the first Baptist church in America, Williams was an important early supporter of religious freedom and toleration.
  • Feb. 2: William Penn-Quaker founder of the colony of Pennsylvania, which under Penn's tolerant leadership became a haven for religious dissidents throughout Europe.
WEEKS 4-5 (Feb. 5-16): 5 reports
  • Feb. 5: Cotton Mather-Puritan champion of religious orthodoxy.
  • Feb. 5: Theodore Jacob Frelinghuysen-The earliest revivalist of the First Great Awakening.
  • Feb. 5: Gilbert Tennent-An early revivalist of the First Great Awakening, Tennent was the leading member of a family of revivalist ministers. The Tennents had much to do with creating a network of prorevivalist ministers who encouraged and copied each other, thereby vastly expanding the Awakening.
  • Feb. 7: Jonathan Edwards-America's greatest and most brilliant theologian. Although usually remembered for his sermon "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," Edwards rarely preached such fire-and-brimstone sermons and, instead, usually delighted his congregation with scholarly, theological discourses. His written accounts of a revival at his church in Northhampton, Massachusetts, was an important inspiration for the Great Awakening. Edwards is a major figure, about whom numerous books and articles have been written.
  • Feb. 7: George Whitefield-The greatest and most famous revivalist of the First Great Awakening. Whitefield was one of the first people to be famous on both sides of the Atlantic. His sermons drew crowds of astonishing size and his preaching style and revivalist methods transformed American religion. Another major figure.
  • Feb. 7: Ezra Stiles-The President of Yale College and proponent of rational religion.
  • Feb. 9: Thomas Jefferson-American deist.
  • Feb. 9: Isaac Backus-Baptist minister who influenced the writing of the Bill of Rights.
  • Feb. 12: Francis Asbury-Influential Methodist bishop of the early republic, Asbury probably did more than any other person to build up Methodism in America.
  • Feb. 12: David Rice-The Father of Kentucky Presbyterianism and early critic of slavery. He led reformers in an unsuccessful effort to abolish slavery in Kentucky in the 1790s.
  • Feb. 12: Ann Lee-The Founder of the American Shaker movement.
  • Feb. 16: Timothy Dwight-The President of Yale College and moderate proponent of Second Great Awakening.
  • Feb. 16: Barton W. Stone-The pastor of the church at Cane Ridge, where the Great Revival had its most significant manifestation. Stone became a significant figure in the Christian/Disciples of Christ/Restorationist movement. Stone was pastor of the First Christian Church in Georgetown for many years.
  • Feb. 16: Alexander Campbell-The principal founder of the Christian/Disciples of Christ/Restorationist tradition ("Campbellites").
WEEK 6-7 (Feb. 19-Mar 2): 5 reports
  • Feb. 21: Lyman Beecher-The most influential religious leader of early nineteenth century.
  • Feb. 21: Nathaniel W. Taylor-The leading theologian of New Haven theology.
  • Feb. 21: Charles G. Finney-The leading revivalist of antebellum period and president of Oberlin College. Finney's work and theology, perhaps, had more impact on the manner in which Protestantism is practiced today in America than any other nineteenth-century religious figure. Reformers, stirred by Finney's revivalism, were the leaders in various movements such as abolitionism, temperance, and women's rights. A major figure, not just in American religious history but in general American history.
  • Feb. 23: Margaret Fuller-Unitarian intellectual and a leading Transcendentalist.
  • Feb. 23: William Ellery Channing-Unitarian minister who influenced Transcendentalism.
  • Feb. 23: James Freeman Clarke- Unitarian minister who influenced Transcendentalism. Clarke was, for many years, a pastor in Louisville.
  • Feb. 26: Joseph Smith-The founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the Mormons).
  • Feb. 26: Lucretia Mott-Quaker feminist and abolitionist.
  • Feb. 26: John Humphrey Noyes-A leading proponent of perfectionism and nonresistance, Noyes founded the Oneida Community, a utopian community which practiced "plural marriage."
  • Feb. 28: Lewis Tappan-Philanthropist and reformer of antebellum period. Tappan, a leading figure in the abolitionist movement and many other reforms, came up with the idea of using cheap, mass mailing advertisements as a means of promoting abolitionism, thereby creating what we would call "junk mail." Tappan also invented the credit-rating system as a means of promoting trade among Christian businessmen.
  • Feb. 28: Angelina Grimké-Quaker feminist and abolitionist. In a day when it was thought to be immodest for women to speak in public, Grimké's antislavery speeches helped split the antislavery movement and helped create the women's rights movement.
  • Feb. 28: James G. Birney-A Presbyterian layman and Kentucky slaveholder whose religious convictions caused him to free his slaves and become an abolitionist. Birney became an important politician and reformer, running for president as an abolitionist in 1840 and 1844 on the Liberty party ticket. Henry Clay probably lost the presidency in the election of 1844 because some of his voters defected to vote for Birney.
  • Mar, 2: John G. Fee-Kentucky abolitionist minister who founded Berea College. Fee was the most significant abolitionist who worked in the South before the Civil War.
  • Feb. 2: Howard Malcom-Controversial Baptist minister, author, and denominational leader. Malcom was president of Georgetown College in the 1840s and was fired for voting for an antislavery candidate for state office in 1849.
  • Mar. 2: Thornton Stringfellow-Baptist minister and chief theological defender of slavery.
  • Mar. 2: Richard Allen-A former slave who became first bishop of the A.M.E. Church.
WEEK-8 (Mar. 5-9): 3 reports
  • Mar. 5: Charles Hodge-Presbyterian theologian of conservative Christianity. Hodge, perhaps the most influential theologian of the second half of the nineteenth century, was the principal formulator of the Princeton Theology, which is a key component of modern fundamentalism.
  • Mar. 5: Abraham Lincoln-American president who championed civil religion.
  • Mar. 5: The Fox Sisters (Margaret and Katherine)-Their alleged ability to communicate with the dead was publicized by P. T. Barnum and prompted a wave of spiritualism to sweep across mid-nineteenth century America. (Abraham Lincoln, at his wife's behest, held seances in the White House.)
  • Mar. 5: Antoinette Brown-The first woman in the U.S. ordained as a Protestant minister.
  • Mar. 5: Orestes Brownson-Author, editor, and reformer, Brownson's politics were based in his religious views. A spiritual and political wanderer, Brownson moved in religion from Universalism to atheism to Unitarianism before finally settling on Catholicism, and in politics, from radical Jacksonianism to ultraconservatism.
  • Mar. 5: John Hughes-American Catholic bishop and champion of parochial schools.
  • Mar. 7: James Cardinal Gibbons-Liberal Catholic champion of the "Americanist" movement.
  • Mar. 7: James Ireland-Liberal Catholic champion of the "Americanist" movement.
  • Mar. 7: Isaac Mayer Wise-Cincinnati rabbi and founder of Reformed Judaism in U.S.
SPRING BREAK (Mar. 12-16)

WEEKS 9-10 (Mar. 19-30): 5 reports
  • Mar. 21: Henry Ward Beecher-The most famous religious leader of mid-nineteenth century, Beecher was as prominent a religious figure in his day as Billy Graham is today. The son of Lyman Beecher and brother of Harriet Beecher Stowe, Beecher was an important forerunner of liberal theology and supporter of many reform movements. His popularity was so great he was able to survive a sex scandal and restore his reputation in the eyes of many Americans.
  • Mar. 21: John D. Rockefeller, Sr.-The richest man of his day (whose relative wealth and influence in his day far surpassed that of Bill Gates in our own), Rockefeller controlled more than 90 percent of American oil refining through the Standard Oil monopoly. Rockefeller was a prominent Baptist lay leader, whose large donations to religious and charitable causes included the founding of the Rockefeller Foundation and the University of Chicago. Several of Rockefeller's descendants became important politicians.
  • Mar. 21: Frances E. Willard-The President of the Women's Christian Temperance Union.
  • Mar. 23: Walter Rauschenbusch-Baptist proponent of the Social Gospel.
  • Mar. 23: Washington Gladden-Congregationalist proponent of the Social Gospel.
  • Mar. 23: Josiah Strong-Congregationalist pastor in Cincinnati who was the chief influence in efforts to organize supporters of the social gospel into a reform movement.
  • Mar. 23: Woodrow Wilson-Son of a Presbyterian minister, Wilson was guided by a highly moralistic political philosophy which prompted him to support progressivism and "missionary diplomacy."
  • Mar. 26: Charles M. Sheldon-Supporter of the social gospel and liberalism, Sheldon wrote the book In His Steps to challenge Christians to ask "what would Jesus do" in shaping their response to poverty and social injustice.
  • Mar. 26: Dwight L. Moody-The leading revivalist of late nineteenth century, Moody continues to have a significant impact on the practice of American Christianity. Though usually thought of today as a forerunner to fundamentalism, in his own time Moody was also admired by liberals. He was one of the last religious figures who was able to appeal to both ends of the theological spectrum. A major figure.
  • Mar. 26: Cyrus I. Scofield-Pioneering theologian of premillennial fundamentalism. His Scofield Reference Bible continues to impact fundamentalist theology.
  • Mar. 26: Billy Sunday-Leading revivalist of early twentieth century and champion of prohibitionism.
  • Mar. 28: William Jennings Bryan-The leading Democratic politician in the U.S. from 1896-1912, Bryan was three times the nominee of the Democratic party for president. Starting his career as a radical agrarian reformer, Bryan ended his career as the most prominent supporter of fundamentalism. Bryan died shortly after trying to suppress the teaching of evolution in public schools by serving as the prosecuting attorney in the Scopes Monkey Trial,
  • Mar. 28: Harry Emerson Fosdick-The most famous liberal minister in the Modernist debate of the 1910s-20s.
  • Mar. 28: J. Frank Norris-Pastor of the First Baptist Church in Ft. Worth, Texas, Norris was an important leader of independent Baptist fundamentalists and lightening rod for controversy. Finding the Southern Baptist Convention to be too liberal for his tastes, he withdrew his church from the Convention and led a thirty-year long campaign to harass the Convention. Norris had a violent temper and had trouble getting along even with fellow fundamentalists. He once shot and killed a man in his pastoral study after an argument.
WEEKS 11-12 (Apr. 2-Apr. 13): 3 reports
  • Apr. 2: Mary Baker Eddy-The founder of Church of Christ (Scientist).
  • Apr. 2: Charles Taze Russell-The founder of the Jehovah's Witnesses.
  • Apr. 2: Phoebe Palmer-Nineteenth century pioneer of holiness movement.
  • Apr. 4: Charles Fox Parham-An important founder of early Pentecostalism.
  • Apr. 4: William J. Seymour-Black Pentecostal pastor who led the Azusa Street Revival, from which modern Pentecostalism was born.
  • Apr. 9: Charles E. Coughlin-Conservative radio priest of the Great Depression. He was one of the leading critics of Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal.
  • Apr. 9: Gerald L. K. Smith-Ultra-conservative minister of mid-twentieth century.
  • Apr. 9: Charles E. Fuller-Host of the "Old Time Revival Hour," Fuller was a pioneer in religious broadcasting and a significant figure in both mid-century fundamentalism and the New Evangelicalism.
  • Apr. 11: Reinhold Niebuhr-The leading American theologian of Neo-Orthodoxy, Niebuhr is a seminal figure in American intellectual life whose writings significantly influenced the thinking of even secular intellectuals and reformers in the 1950s, including Martin Luther King. Niebuhr supported both the struggle for social justice and the fight against totalitarian regimes in Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.
  • Apr. 11: Dorothy Day-Socialist and founder of Catholic Worker movement of 1930s.
WEEK 13 (Apr. 12-16): 2 reports
  • Apr. 16: Billy Graham-The leading revivalist and minister of the late twentieth century.
  • Apr. 16: Oral Roberts-Pioneer faith-healer, televangelist, and popularizer of Pentecostalism. Although always viewed as something of a clownish character by mainstream observers, Roberts was a major influence on late twentieth-century Protestantism, doing more than anyone to shape religious broadcasting and the rise and spread of the charismatic movement.
  • Apr. 16: Norman Vincent Peale-Perhaps the most famous proponent of mainline Protestantism in the 1950s-60s, Peale authored The Power of Positive Thinking, which sold millions of copies and exemplified much of the religious outlook of post-World War II America. Peale was the mentor of current televangelist Robert Schuller and pastor of Richard Nixon.
  • Apr. 18: Martin Luther King-Baptist minister and leading figure of Civil Rights Movement.
  • Apr. 18: Malcolm X-Influential Black Muslim and radical activist.
  • Apr. 18: William Sloane Coffin-Minister and outspoken critic of the Vietnam War.

Make-Up Assignments: Students will be allowed to make up missed assignments only with the consent of the professor. Ordinarily, the professor will accept make-up assignments only in cases of unavoidable student absences, such as those caused by illness or by a death in the immediate family. Students may be required to document the causes of their absences before the make-up work will be accepted by the professor.


Other Departmental Courses in American History and Civilization:
| AMS 250 | HIS 223 | HIS 225 | HIS 227 | HIS 306 |
| HIS 308 | HIS 310 | HIS 312 | HIS 314 | HIS 318 | HIS 325 |
| HIS 338 | HIS 426 | HIS 430 | HIS 432 | HIS 470 | HIS 475 |

| This page was last updated on 1/21/01. | Return to Top of Page | Site Map |

Dr. Harold D. Tallant, Department of History, Georgetown College
400 East College Street, Georgetown, KY 40324, (502) 863-8075
E-mail: Harold_Tallant@georgetowncollege.edu.

HIS 338: Religion in American History