Temperance I have a

September 10, 2003


I have a nice discussion of Temperance reformers, ultra-ism, and biblical literacy. What I need to do is do a better job of integrating this into my argument for the chapter - the first pass draft argued that there was a "categorizational crisis" in the 1840s where Americans looked for new terms to sort and organize religious groups. There is something to that, but I think I went too strong. And, for Temperance at least, the timing differs. Really what happened in the 1840s was that conservatives argued that temperance and slavery were subject to the same ultraism, and so they used the same arguments against both antislavery and against ultra-temperance. In the process they rejected the ultra folks and their attempt to add new tests to church fellowship.

So, the key thing for the 1840s is not the ultraism, but the conservative response. That response is called for because, unlike the early 1840s, the ATS and friends are not trying to harangue all other temperance groups into merging with them - instead they are cooperating for a common goal. That cooperation is what I see religious groups moving towards - but that cooperation also inspires conservatives to argue against the extreme positions (the Last Supper was celebrated in unfermented grape juice) put forward by the ultra temperance men.

This story is important for me because it brings the notion of fellowship back onto the national stage, and, from that second paragraph above, it is important because the temperance people seem to be pre-figuring the sort of cooperation that the Evangelicals will use. The irony is that the same folks who provide the mental architecture for the Evangelical Alliance are also cutting down the Temperance movement for being non-Biblical. I think I can work with that.

I am sleepy and it always takes me forever to get my arguments right. Writing is HARD.

And so to work.

Posted by Red Ted at September 10, 2003 11:56 AM | TrackBack