The Power of Ideals in American History

By Ephraim Douglass Adams | Go to book overview

IV
RELIGION -- A SERVICE

Unlike other ideals, religious conviction in the nineteenth century has not found expression in any one distinct movement, nor in any one period. It is rather a diffused force working in and through all other forces, -- and thus difficult to isolate. Naturally and necessarily, I turn to church movements, and to the activities of the clergy, for illustration, yet it is the custom and conduct of the people, rather than the leadership of the pulpit, that is vital.

In early colonial times church and state were so interwoven that religious expression and creeds were an essential part of citizenship. But with the spread of the principle of freedom of conscience, taking form in the separation of church and state, religion came to be regarded as something apart from the political life of the nation, and the pulpit as largely restricted from leadership in political action. This was an inevitable swing back of the pendulum from the point of clerical domination. The pulpit emphasized creed and dogma, devoting its mental energy to these topics, and paying little attention to acute questions of the day. The force of the clergy, in the affairs of state, disappeared,

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The Power of Ideals in American History
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction ix
  • I - Nationality -- a Faith 1
  • I - Nationality -- a Faith 3
  • II - Anti-Slavery -- a Crusade 31
  • II - Anti-Slavery -- a Crusade 33
  • III- Manifest Destiny -- an Emotion 63
  • III- Manifest Destiny -- an Emotion 65
  • IV - Religion -- a Service 95
  • IV - Religion -- a Service 97
  • V - Democracy -- a Vision 125
  • V - Democracy -- a Vision 127
  • Index 153
  • Index 155
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