Liberal Kentucky, 1780-1828

By Niels Henry Sonne | Go to book overview

VI
HORACE HOLLEY, LIBERAL
THEOLOGIAN AND
EDUCATOR

WITH the election of Horace Holley to the presidency of Transylvania University, the conflict between liberalism and Calvinism in Kentucky became a conflict over Holley, his personality, his ideals, his objects, and his successes and failures. Should he prove successful in promoting the ambitions of the party of which he now was the leader, i.e., in providing an effective liberal education for the youth of the country, the hopes of the Presbyterian clergy for the type of Christian society which they sought would be destroyed. In its stead, the already dominant cultured and gay society of gentlemen, of politicians, of lawyers, of those who loved life for what it was worth, would continue to prosper, and would become universally accepted. Before considering the ferocious death struggle which soon ensued, we must study Holley himself, to see what his true character was, and why it should have served as an easy target for the enemies of liberalism, religious and political. Briefly put, Holley's most provocative characteristics were a candidly expressed liberalism in religion, an aristocratic and highly sociable disposition, and great success where his enemies had failed.

The new president of Transylvania University was born at Salisbury, Connecticut, on February 13, 1781, a son of Luther Holley, a New Englander who had risen from a

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Liberal Kentucky, 1780-1828
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents xi
  • I - Intellectual Viewpoints in Pioneer Kentucky 1
  • II - Early Transylvania 46
  • III - Dr. Joseph Buchanan 78
  • IV - Presbyterianism and the State 108
  • V - A Revolution at Transylvania University 135
  • VI - Horace Holley, Liberal Theologian and Educator 160
  • VII - Liberalism on the Defensive 191
  • VIII - Liberalism Defeated 242
  • Bibliography 263
  • Index 275
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