Many historians of religion and politics in the early republic period fail to fully examine the importance of the debate between the Connecticut's Standing Order and religious dissenters concerning the necessity of a religious establishment in America. Relying on sermons, newspaper accounts, this project examines the ideology and justification of Connecticut's Standing Order in defending religious establishment, as well as the ideological reasons Republicans and religious dissenters offered in opposing it. Exploring the value of the church establishment from the perspective of both the supporters of the Standing Order and those who sided with the Jeffersonians offers important insight into how issues of religion shaped the political and social battles in the early republic.
This work focuses upon the political ideology of Connecticut's established clergy and Federalist allies in relation to the defense of the church establishment. In particular, the motives for those who defended the established church were based not upon selfish ambition, but rather upon well-constructed ideas about how best to maintain the prosperity of the American republic. In Connecticut, the adherents of the Standing Order valued holding the Congregational Church as the established church for the state because traditional social structures and social systems such as churches seemingly benefitted the continued success of the community.
This project demonstrates that the convictions on both sides of the debate were grounded upon ideas, not ambitions. For the Standing Order, the state church was a fundamental component of stability and prosperity in Connecticut. The established clergy of Standing Order, as well as their dissenter counterparts, believed that the outcome of the ecclesiastical issue was crucial for determining the future prosperity of the republic. Their vision for the nation may have lost out to that of the Jeffersonians and religious dissenters, but it was nonetheless a vision that ultimately had meaningful consequences for the development of the nation and the role of Christianity in shaping the political and social spheres.
|Commitee:||Barnes, Diane, Gruenwald, Kim, Hudson, Leonne, Lewis, Jerry, Wattles, Jeffrey|
|School:||Kent State University|
|School Location:||United States -- Ohio|
|Source:||DAI-A 75/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Religious history, American history|
|Keywords:||Church and state, Congregationalists, Established church, Federalists, Standing order|
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