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Revolt, religion, and dissent in the Dutch-American Atlantic: Francis Adrian van der Kemp's pursuit of civil and religious liberty

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This project explores the histories of the Dutch Republic and the United States during the Age of Revolutions, using as a lens the life of Francis Adrian van der Kemp. Connections between the Netherlands and the United States have been

This project explores the histories of the Dutch Republic and the United States during the Age of Revolutions, using as a lens the life of Francis Adrian van der Kemp. Connections between the Netherlands and the United States have been understudied in histories of the Revolutionary Atlantic. Yet the nations' political and religious histories are entwined both thematically and practically. Van der Kemp's life makes it possible to examine republicanism and liberal religion anew, as they developed and changed during the era of Atlantic revolutions. The project draws on numerous archival collections that house van der Kemp's voluminous correspondence, political and religious writings, his autobiography, and the unpublished records of the Reformed Christian Church, now the Unitarian Church of Barneveld. With his activity in both countries, van der Kemp offers a unique perspective into the continued role of the Dutch in the development of the United States. The dissertation argues that the political divisions and incomplete religious freedom that frustrated van der Kemp in the Dutch Republic similarly manifested in America. Politically, the partisanship that became the hallmark of the early American republic echoed the experiences van der Kemp had during the Patriot Revolt. While parties would eventually stabilize radical politics, the collapse of the Dutch Republic in the Atlantic world and the divisiveness of American politics in those early decades, led van der Kemp to blunt his once radically democratic opinions. Heavily influenced by John Adams, he adopted a more conservative politics of balance that guaranteed religious and civil liberty regardless of governmental structure. In the realm of religion, van der Kemp discovered that American religious freedom reflected the same begrudging acceptance that constituted Dutch religious tolerance. Van der Kemp found that even in one of the most pluralistic states, New York, his belief in the unlimited liberty of conscience remained a dissenting opinion. The democracy and individualism celebrated in early American politics were controversial in religion, given the growing authority of denominations and hierarchical church institutions.

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2014

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#11

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Briefly explains how lack of monetary savings serves as a barrier to accessing to finance capital for women of color seeking to launch their own tech startup.

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Date Created
2021 (year uncertain)

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Cultivating the domain: Alexander Campbell, print capitalism, and denomination building in the trans-Appalachian West, 1810-1850

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This study examines how a populist religious leader, Alexander Campbell, altered the economic value system of religious material production in the early United States and, subsequently, the long-term value structure of religious economic systems generally. As religious publishing societies in

This study examines how a populist religious leader, Alexander Campbell, altered the economic value system of religious material production in the early United States and, subsequently, the long-term value structure of religious economic systems generally. As religious publishing societies in the early nineteenth century were pioneering the not-for-profit corporation and as many popular itinerants manufactured religious spectacles around the country, Campbell combined the promotional methods of revivalism and the business practices of religious printers, with a conspicuously pugilistic tone to simultaneously build religious and business empires. He was a religious entrepreneur who capitalized on the opportunities of American revivalism for personal and religious gain. His opponents attacked his theology and his wealth as signs of his obvious error but few were prepared for the vigor of his answer. He invited conflict and challenged prominent opponents to grow his celebrity and extend his brand into new markets. He argued that his labor as a printer was deserving of compensation and that, unlike his “venal” clerical opponents, he offered his services as a preacher for free. As Americans in the early national period increasingly felt obligated to find the “right kind of Christianity,” Campbell packaged and sold a compelling product. In the decades that followed his first debate in 1820, he built a religious following that by 1850 numbered well over 100,000 followers. This dissertation considers the importance of marketing, promotion, investment capital, distribution networks, property law, print culture, and ideology, to the success of a given religious prescription in the nineteenth century American marketplace of religion. Campbell’s success reveals important social, political, and economic structures in the nineteenth century trans-Appalachian west. It also illuminates a form of religious entrepreneurialism that continues to be important to American Christianity.

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2018