Evangelical Gotham: Religion And The Making Of New York City, 1783-1860

Hardcover | November 7, 2016

byKyle B. Roberts

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At first glance, evangelical and Gotham seem like an odd pair. What does a movement of pious converts and reformers have to do with a city notoriously full of temptation and sin? More than you might think, says Kyle B. Roberts, who argues that religion must be considered alongside immigration, commerce, and real estate scarcity as one of the forces that shaped the New York City we know today.
            In Evangelical Gotham, Roberts explores the role of the urban evangelical community in the development of New York between the American Revolution and the Civil War. As developers prepared to open new neighborhoods uptown, evangelicals stood ready to build meetinghouses. As the city’s financial center emerged and solidified, evangelicals capitalized on the resultant wealth, technology, and resources to expand their missionary and benevolent causes. When they began to feel that the city’s morals had degenerated, evangelicals turned to temperance, Sunday school, prayer meetings, antislavery causes, and urban missions to reform their neighbors. The result of these efforts was Evangelical Gotham—a complicated and contradictory world whose influence spread far beyond the shores of Manhattan.
 
Winner of the 2015 Dixon Ryan Fox Manuscript Prize from the New York State Historical Association

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At first glance, evangelical and Gotham seem like an odd pair. What does a movement of pious converts and reformers have to do with a city notoriously full of temptation and sin? More than you might think, says Kyle B. Roberts, who argues that religion must be considered alongside immigration, commerce, and real estate scarcity as one ...

Kyle B. Roberts is assistant professor of public history and new media at Loyola University Chicago and director of the Jesuit Libraries Provenance Project.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:352 pages, 9 × 6 × 1 inPublished:November 7, 2016Publisher:University of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022638814X

ISBN - 13:9780226388144

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Table of Contents

Introduction
Part I 1783–1815
1 Crossings and Dwellings
2 The Widow, the Missionary, and the Prostitute
Part II 1815–1840
3 The New Missionary Field
4 Practicing Faith through Reading and Writing
5 Free Churches and the Limits of Reform
Part III 1840–1860
6 Perfection and the Antebellum Urban Evangelical Woman
7 Moving Uptown
Conclusion
Acknowledgments
Appendix
Notes
Index

Editorial Reviews

“Until recently historians have viewed the landscape of religion chiefly from the perspective of social history, treating the realm of faith as a subjective response to uncertainty and change and spiritual movements as instruments for imposing order. Sometimes the secular approach goes farther and sees in revivals and awakenings the ambitions of elites to impose social control over the subordinate classes. Roberts will have none of this. In Evangelical Gotham, religion operates as a domain of meaning in its own right, anchoring individual lives, building institutions, and inspiring aid to the needy in body and spirit. Roberts shows that evangelicals embraced the city and appropriated its characteristic institutions to religious ends. In a stratified society, rent by divisions of class, race, and ethnicity, these dedicated souls were inclusive and expansive, seeking to bring every possible soul within their embrace. Such a faith proved a social force of immense importance and in charting its impact Roberts provides us with a powerful lens through which to view the world of the early republic.”