Though much has been written about Charles Finney, "The Father of Modern Revivalism," most works have concentrated on his roles as an educator and political reformer. In this new study, Chesebrough examines the rhetorical skills and techniques that made Finney the first contemporary evangelist, one whose methods are still practiced today. A major force in many social reform movements of his time, most notably abolitionism, Finney introduced techniques to revivalist preaching that he used toward politically sophisticated ends. Chesebrough explores both his rhetoric and the effect it had on Finney's audiences, as well as the controversy this major figure often provoked. Following a survey of Finney's life, with special attention given to those aspects pertaining to the development of his oratory, Chesebrough considers the themes of Finney's sermons and lectures on both religious and political subjects. A third section details the rhetorical devices he introduced and employed, and the volume concludes with three of Finney's actual sermons, which reveal the ways in which this speaker commanded the attention of his audiences.