Orestes A. Brownson

Brownson, Orestes Augustus

Orestes Augustus Brownson (ôrĕs´tēz, broun´sən), 1803–76, American author and clergyman, b. Stockbridge, Vt. Largely self-taught, he became a vigorous and influential writer on social and religious questions. He was a Presbyterian, but left that church to become first a Universalist and then a sort of freelance minister, working for such socialistic schemes as the short-lived Workingmen's Party. Later he was a Unitarian minister until in 1836 he started his own church, the Society for Christian Union and Progress. As founder and editor of the Boston Quarterly Review (1838–42) and as editor of the Democratic Review (1842–44), he condemned social inequalities. At this time he was one of the transcendentalists and was so interested in Brook Farm as to send his son there. He entered the Roman Catholic Church in 1844, and later, as editor of the new Brownson's Quarterly Review, he was a vigorous defender of the Church. Among his books are New Views of Christianity, Society, and the Church (1836); two autobiographical novels, Charles Elwood; or, The Infidel Converted (1840) and The Convert (1857); and The American Republic (1865).

See biography by his son, Henry F. Brownson (3 vol., 1898–1900), who also edited his works (20 vol., 1882–87, repr. 1966), biographies by A. Schlesinger, Jr. (1939, repr. 1966) and T. Maynard (1943, repr. 1971); studies by L. Gilhooley (1980) and T. R. Ryan (1984).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

Orestes A. Brownson: Selected full-text books and articles

The Early Works of Orestes A. Brownson: The Free Thought and Unitarian Years, 1830-35 By Orestes A. Brownson; Patrick W. Carey Marquette University Press, vol.2, 2000
Orestes A. Brownson: A Pilgrim's Progress By Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr Little, Brown and Company, 1939
American Catholic Religious Thought: The Shaping of a Theological and Social Tradition By Patrick W. Carey Marquette University Press, 2004
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 2 "Orestes A. Brownson: Life by Communion"
The Catholic Experience: An Interpretation of the History of American Catholicism By Andrew M. Greeley Doubleday, 1967
Librarian’s tip: Chap. V "Converts from Brook Farm: Brownson and Hecker"
American Classics Reconsidered: A Christian Appraisal By Harold C. Gardiner Scribner, 1958
Librarian’s tip: "Orestes A. Brownson 1803-1876: The Critique of Transcendentalism" begins on p. 98
The Periodicals of American Transcendentalism By Clarence L. F. Gohdes Duke University Press, 1931
Librarian’s tip: Chap. III "Orestes A. Brownson and the Boston Quarterly Review"
The Conservative Press in Eighteenth-And Nineteenth-Century America By Ronald Lora; William Henry Longton Greenwood Press, 1999
Librarian’s tip: "Brownson's Quarterly Review, 1844-1875" begins on p. 357
The True and Only Heaven: Progress and Its Critics By Christopher Lasch Norton, 1991
Librarian’s tip: "Orestes Brownson and the Divorce between Politics and Religion" begins on p. 184 and "Brownson's Attack on Philanthropy" begins on p. 189
A Season in Utopia: The Story of Brook Farm By Edith Roelker Curtis Thomas Nelson & Sons, 1961
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Orestes A. Brownson begins on p. 120
The Conservative Mind, from Burke to Santayana By Russell Kirk Henry Regnery Publishing, 1953
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Orestes A. Brownson begins on p. 213
Orestes A. Brownson: A Bibliography, 1826-1876 By Patrick W. Carey Marquette University Press, 1997
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