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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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PRINTED FROM NYU Press SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.nyu.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of NYU Press Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NYSO for personal use.date: 29 March 2020

Stepping Up and Out

Stepping Up and Out

White Women in the Church, 1800–1820

Chapter:
(p.75) 4 Stepping Up and Out
Source:
Four Steeples over the City Streets
Author(s):

Kyle T. Bulthuis

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9781479814275.003.0005

This chapter explores the place of women in the churches in the growing city. Women constituted a numerical majority in each congregation. After 1800, wealthy women quietly entered the public sphere. They organized charitable institutions that focused on widows and children. These benevolent societies preserved traditional assumptions about poverty and the organic vision of society of the colonial era. Paradoxically, however, such organizations opened the way for more radical forms of action, as they provided public spaces, however circumscribed, for society's wealthiest women. Many more women in the churches preserved conventional gender roles by choosing private pious contemplation and steady attendance at worship services. The close connection of some of these women to their ministers heightened social tensions in the churches.

Keywords:   women, church, female congregation, wealthy women, benevolent societies, organic society, gender roles, social tensions

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