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Four Steeples over the City StreetsReligion and Society in New York's Early Republic Congregations$
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Kyle T. Bulthuis

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781479814275

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479814275.001.0001

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Creating Merchant Churches

Creating Merchant Churches

The 1790s

(p.48) 3 Creating Merchant Churches
Four Steeples over the City Streets

Kyle T. Bulthuis

NYU Press

This chapter sketches a social portrait of each congregation during the 1790s. Trinity Episcopal Church retained its colonial-era aura of prestige. Prominent politicians, professionals, and merchants filled its front pews. Yet many from the middling and lower orders attended, and gentlemen who led the church viewed it as a model or reflection of the society at large, a piece of de facto establishment continued after the Revolution. In general, Methodism tended to attract artisans and laboring people. But John Street Methodist Chapel's location near merchant and retail centers caused social stratification within the church. As at Trinity, men of wealth and influence occupied positions of leadership at John Street, but the church contained members from all ranks and both genders, thereby illustrating the ideal of an organic society.

Keywords:   1790s, Trinity Episcopal Church, John Street Methodist, organic society, social stratification, merchants, working class

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