History 233 Reading Guide

Republican Religion:  The Evangelical Age and the Second Great Awakening

  • Mary Kupiec Cayton, "Who Were the Evangelicals?:   Conservative and Liberal Identity in the Unitarian Controversy in Boston, 1804-1833," Journal of Social History 31.1 (1997), 85-107.  JSTOR
  • John H. Wigger, "Taking Heaven by Storm:   Enthusiasm and Early American Methodism, 1770-1820," Journal of the Early Republic 14 (1994), 167-194.  (e-reserve)


  • How does Cayton describe the theological and methodological distinctions between the conservative (evangelical orthodox) and liberal (Unitarians) Congregationalists?  When and by what process did the dispute within the Congregational church develop?
  • In what ways did the beliefs and values of the conservative and liberal Congregationalists reflect particular kinds of social and economic experiences—and social outlooks—in Boston during this period of rapid urbanization?  According to Cayton, what "two symbolic representations of order" did these contrasting religious persuasions reflect?
  • How does Wigger characterize the rise, role, and success of Methodism in the evolution of American culture in the early republic?
  • What aspects of Methodism set it apart from other denominations, and compelled its success?
  • How does Wigger describe and explain the timing of the rise of its appeal?
  • On what traditional and contemporary elements of European and American society did Methodism draw?  For whom did Methodism have particular appeal, and why?
  • What causal factors led to the rise and success of American Methodism?