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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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Reaping the Whirlwind

Reaping the Whirlwind

Immigration and Riot, 1830–1850

(p.170) 8 Reaping the Whirlwind
Four Steeples over the City Streets

Kyle T. Bulthuis

NYU Press

This chapter examines the full consequences of the domestication of church life in the 1830s and 1840s. Racial fissures grew absolute, and swept the last remains of hope for racial unity from the churches. Yet black churchmen continued to articulate loyalties to denominational traditions that recognized the local relationships fostered in each church. Many white Methodists and Episcopalians embraced nativist politics as a way to re-create the lost world promoted in the colonial era, a truncated version that continued racial separation while promising to soften class conflict among whites. But neither racial separation nor nativist dreams of unity could wind back the clock on the city's economic and demographic growth. Economic slowdowns and the flight of downtown residents caused the churches' once prominent position to decline.

Keywords:   church life domestication, church decline, racial unity, nativist politics, racial separation, class conflict

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