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 sacred day. 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 we cannot 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 the context 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 is invaluable 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.
"A fascinating read and a wonderful window on an important phenomenon."--Daniel P. Murphy, Hanover College "[A]ll students of American culture in the nineteenth century...will now rely on Cosmos Crumbling as the most useful narrative overview of the role played by religious imagination in the unfolding of the ante-bellum reform."--Thomas J. Brown, Harvard University in The New England Quarterly "...a useful resource for students of religion and politics..."--Perspectives on Political Science "...an original and provocative analysis of the religious roots of early nineteenth century reform movements....[Abzug's] analysis is unique....Cosmos Crumbling is important reading to scholars of American cultural and political, as well as religious history."--American Studies International "...a detailed account of the many reform movements in Antebellum America."--Theology Digest "Abzug's book has the double virtue of being informative and good to read..."--Journal of the Early Republic "A readable, insightful work. Abzug rightfully stresses the role of religion in American reform movements. First rate!"--John Quinn, Salve Regina University "A brilliant reinterpretation of the dynamic reform movements that proliferated in the five decades following the American independence....Succeeds in breaking out of the constraining cocoon imposed by our own secular era and in comprehending nineteenth-century reformers in their own terms, within their own cosmos. Abzug goes far beyond any previous historian in getting to the core of American reform and thus to a vital part of American identity."--David Brion Davis, Yale University "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
Number Of Pages: 304
Published: 1st September 1994
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 15.88 x 2.54
Weight (kg): 0.48