Cosmos Crumbling: American Reform and the Religious Imagination by Robert H. Abzug

Cosmos Crumbling: American Reform and the Religious Imagination

byRobert H. Abzug

Paperback | September 1, 1994

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In the forty years before the Civil War, America was awash in political and social reform movements. Abolitionists stormed against the cruelties of slavery. Temperance zealots hounded producers and consumers of strong drink. Sabbatarians fought to make Sunday an officially recognized sacredday. Woman's rights activists proclaimed the case for sexual equality. This colorful text brilliantly reassesses the religious roots of these antebellum reform movements through a series of penetrating profiles of key men and women who sought to remake their worlds in sacred terms. Arguing that wecannot understand American reform movements unless we understand the sacred significance reformers bestowed on the worldly arenas of politics, society, and the economy, Abzug presents these men and women in their own words, placing their cherished ideals and their often heated squabbles within thecontext of their millennial and sometimes apocalyptic sense of America's role in the cosmic drama. Tracing the lasting impact of what began as a peculiarly Protestant, largely New England, style of social action on the uniquely American traditions of activism that flourish today, Cosmos Crumbling isinvaluable for helping students of American and religious history understand the myriad ways in which the quest for enlightenment and salvation continues to shape American politics.

About The Author

Robert H. Abzug is at University of Texas.

Details & Specs

Title:Cosmos Crumbling: American Reform and the Religious ImaginationFormat:PaperbackDimensions:304 pages, 6.1 × 9.25 × 0.94 inPublished:September 1, 1994Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195045688

ISBN - 13:9780195045680

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Table of Contents

PROLOGUE: Ultraists, Seekers, and the Soldiery of DissentPart I: Foundations of the Reform Cosmology1:. Benjamin Rush and Revolutionary Christian Reform2:. Lyman Beecher and the Cosmic Theater3:. War in the West: The Radical RevivalPart II: Evangelical Reform4:. The Temperance Reformation5:. Sabbatarianism and Manual LaborPart III: Radical Transformation6. William Lloyd Garrison and the Birth of Abolitionism7. The Body Reforms8. The Woman Question9. Woman's Rights and SchismNOTESINDEX

From Our Editors

In the forty years before the Civil War, America rang with the cry of reform. Abolitionists stormed against the cruelties of slavery. Temperance zealots hounded producers and consumers of strong drink. Sabbatarians fought to make Sunday an officially recognized sacred day. Women's rights activists proclaimed the case for sexual equality. Others offered programs of physiological and spiritual self-reform: phrenology, vegetarianism, the water-cure, spiritualism, and miscellaneous others. "Even the insect world was to be defended", Emerson mused, "and a society for the protection of ground-worms, slugs, and mosquitoes was to be incorporated without delay". Cosmos Crumbling brilliantly reassesses the religious roots of these antebellum reform movements through a series of penetrating profiles of key men and women who sought to remake their worlds in sacred terms. Filled with vivid anecdotes and penetrating analysis, the book presents a genealogy of reform cosmology that begins with the American Revolution and ends with "the woman question", the issue that drove a wedg

Editorial Reviews

"Offers the freshest, most elegantly phrased and profoundest reinterpretation of the American reform tradition in the last fifty years....All students of nineteenth-century American history will need to read this work."--Bertram Wyatt-Brown, University of Florida