The Early Works of Orestes A. Brownson: The Universalist Years, 1826-29 - Vol. 1

The Early Works of Orestes A. Brownson: The Universalist Years, 1826-29 - Vol. 1

The Early Works of Orestes A. Brownson: The Universalist Years, 1826-29 - Vol. 1

The Early Works of Orestes A. Brownson: The Universalist Years, 1826-29 - Vol. 1

Excerpt

This volume is the first of a multi-volume set of Orestes A. Brownson's early works, covering a period from 1826, the date of his first known publication, until his conversion to Catholicism in 1844. Most of these works were never printed in Henry Brownson's edition of his father's collected works. The first volume of the works assembles sermons, essays, and articles he published when he was a Universalist pastor and essayist-editor in upstate New York from 1826 to 1830.

The introduction that follows is divided into three major sections. The first section outlines briefly Brownson's early biography until his separation from the Universalist Church and ministry in December of 1829. The second places Brownson's Universalist writings in the intellectual context of his upstate New York experience. The third focuses on the editorial principles that guide this and the subsequent volumes.

BROWNSON'S EARLY LIFE

Vermont was home to Orestes A. Brownson and a number of his contemporaries who made significant contributions to American religious and intellectual life. Joseph Smith (1805-44), founder of the Mormons, was born in Sharon, Vermont; Brigham Young (1801- 77), Smith's trusted advisor and president of the Mormons from 1847 until his death, in Whitingham, Vermont; William Miller (1782- 1849), founder and leader of the Adventist movement in the United States, in Pittsfield, Vermont; and John Humphrey Noyes (1811- 86), religious perfectionist and founder of Bible Communist and free-love communes, in Brattleboro, Vermont. Brownson -- minister, journalist, and philosopher in various religious and intellectual movements -- was born in Stockbridge, Vermont on September 16, 1803. Stockbridge was a small rural community located on the White River sixteen miles northeast of Rutland, Vermont. Like his contemporaries he lived in obscure rural villages in Vermont (on the outskirts of American culture), had little access to formal higher education, was devoid of much religious instruction, and, like many of them, he migrated before the 1820s with his family to upstate New York where he started his careers as a teacher, preacher and journalist.

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