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Scraping By: Wage Labor, Slavery, and Survival in Early Baltimore (review)

Scraping By: Wage Labor, Slavery, and Survival in Early Baltimore (review) had an evangelical majority, ministers freely used the ``Christian nation'' (12) language in their insistence on Sabbath observance laws and support for legislation that would suppress gambling, liquor, theaters, and other perceived social ills that violated evangelical mores. The statement that ``for 1300 years governmental leaders believed that virtue was central to a functioning government--especially a republican government'' (36) begs for further context. Despite its origins as a doctoral dissertation at the University of Virginia, a major problem with this book lies in the limited research on which it is based. The repeated assertions of dissenter numbers and strength might be plausible had the author drawn upon the abundant church records at the Library of Virginia, Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, and the Baptist Historical Society. Instead, Ragosta relies heavily and selectively on secondary sources that support his arguments. Such dependence leads to wildly inaccurate statements. For example, the claim that Virginia held ``approximately seventy Presbyterian ministers'' (24) at the time of the Revolution is beyond belief to anyone who has examined the records of Hanover Presbytery, the only one in Virginia during the Revolutionary era. They list ten ministers in 1775 and twenty-five a decade later. The http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of the Early Republic University of Pennsylvania Press

Scraping By: Wage Labor, Slavery, and Survival in Early Baltimore (review)

Journal of the Early Republic , Volume 31 (3) – Aug 11, 2011

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Publisher
University of Pennsylvania Press
Copyright
Copyright © University of Pennsylvania Press
ISSN
1553-0620
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Abstract

had an evangelical majority, ministers freely used the ``Christian nation'' (12) language in their insistence on Sabbath observance laws and support for legislation that would suppress gambling, liquor, theaters, and other perceived social ills that violated evangelical mores. The statement that ``for 1300 years governmental leaders believed that virtue was central to a functioning government--especially a republican government'' (36) begs for further context. Despite its origins as a doctoral dissertation at the University of Virginia, a major problem with this book lies in the limited research on which it is based. The repeated assertions of dissenter numbers and strength might be plausible had the author drawn upon the abundant church records at the Library of Virginia, Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, and the Baptist Historical Society. Instead, Ragosta relies heavily and selectively on secondary sources that support his arguments. Such dependence leads to wildly inaccurate statements. For example, the claim that Virginia held ``approximately seventy Presbyterian ministers'' (24) at the time of the Revolution is beyond belief to anyone who has examined the records of Hanover Presbytery, the only one in Virginia during the Revolutionary era. They list ten ministers in 1775 and twenty-five a decade later. The

Journal

Journal of the Early RepublicUniversity of Pennsylvania Press

Published: Aug 11, 2011

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