Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants

Title

Patriot Saint: Charles Elliott's Adaptation to Antebellum Methodism and the making of Mainline Protestantism

Department

History Department

College

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Disciplines

Arts and Humanities

Abstract

Charles Elliott was among the most influential ministers in American Methodism in the years surrounding the Civil War. Today, he remains in relative obscurity from both denominational and academic historiographies. Yet his career, particularly the denominational periodicals he edited and the books that the denomination commissioned him to write, reflect the trends within American Methodism at mid-century that led the denomination on the path to being part of the mainline Protestantism. By all biographical accounts, Elliott was an immigrant from Ireland in the 1810s. His biography and his corpus of work represent the process of adaptation to Methodism in the United States and the effort of one man to embrace his new American identity. Through the course of that process, Elliott also defined American Methodism upon sectional, ethnic, political, and theological grounds. This paper will briefly outline Elliotts biography and explore the themes within his books as they relate to Elliotts adaptation to and definition of American Methodism. The large bulk of primary evidence will come from Elliotts books on topics ranging from Indian missions to slavery, from anti-Catholicism to sectionalism. The paper will also include selected editorial articles from the various periodicals that Elliott edited during his career.

Conference Name

Conference on Faith and History

Conference Location

Wenham, MA

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