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This Vast Southern Empire: Slaveholders at the Helm of American Foreign Policy by Matthew Karp (review)

This Vast Southern Empire: Slaveholders at the Helm of American Foreign Policy by Matthew Karp... hem of their faith as they walked through it. They housed these meetings in buildings that were sometimes not traditional churches, and, likewise, evangelicals sometimes opened their churches to groups other than congregations in order to raise money and awareness of their mission. But that tension was sometimes destructive. Lewis Tappan helped launch the free church movement, seeking through economies of scale to organize evangelical churches that did not require pew rents in order to attract the impoverished. This goal, seemingly entirely in line with the adaptable missions of Ezra Stiles Ely, collapsed when Tappan’s congregations began to tear themselves apart over the question of whether evangelical social activism should include abolitionism. The starkness of Tappan’s story reveals some of Roberts’s strengths: his eye for narrative and his ability to distill a story into an argument. But the book also has weaknesses. Roberts occasionally tilts at windmills, as when he argues that “scholars have traditionally interpreted evangelicalism and the market as fundamentally at odds” (114), a statement I had to read several times, because it runs counter to virtually all of the historiography on evangelicalism I have read in the past decade. Roberts may be doing this to http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Journal of the Civil War Era University of North Carolina Press

This Vast Southern Empire: Slaveholders at the Helm of American Foreign Policy by Matthew Karp (review)

The Journal of the Civil War Era , Volume 7 (4) – Oct 31, 2017

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
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Copyright @ The University of North Carolina Press
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2159-9807
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Abstract

hem of their faith as they walked through it. They housed these meetings in buildings that were sometimes not traditional churches, and, likewise, evangelicals sometimes opened their churches to groups other than congregations in order to raise money and awareness of their mission. But that tension was sometimes destructive. Lewis Tappan helped launch the free church movement, seeking through economies of scale to organize evangelical churches that did not require pew rents in order to attract the impoverished. This goal, seemingly entirely in line with the adaptable missions of Ezra Stiles Ely, collapsed when Tappan’s congregations began to tear themselves apart over the question of whether evangelical social activism should include abolitionism. The starkness of Tappan’s story reveals some of Roberts’s strengths: his eye for narrative and his ability to distill a story into an argument. But the book also has weaknesses. Roberts occasionally tilts at windmills, as when he argues that “scholars have traditionally interpreted evangelicalism and the market as fundamentally at odds” (114), a statement I had to read several times, because it runs counter to virtually all of the historiography on evangelicalism I have read in the past decade. Roberts may be doing this to

Journal

The Journal of the Civil War EraUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Oct 31, 2017

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