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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

“God's business men”: Entrepreneurial evangelicals in Depression and war
by Hammond, Sarah Ruth, Ph.D., Yale University, 2010, 312; 3415348
Abstract (Summary)

For decades, historians of the twentieth-century United States have treated evangelicals as politically apathetic and culturally marginal between the 1925 Scopes Trial and the Reagan revolution. To the contrary, evangelical businessmen during the Depression and World War II opposed the New Deal on theological and economic grounds, and claimed a place alongside other conservatives in the public sphere. Like previous generations of devout laymen, they self-consciously merged their religious and business lives, financing and organizing evangelical causes with the same visionary pragmatism they practiced in the boardroom. For example, industrialist R.G. LeTourneau and executive Herbert J. Taylor countered government centralization in the 1930s and 1940s with philanthropies that invested in a Protestant, capitalist, and democratic world. Meanwhile, the Christian Business Men's Committee International, the Business Men's Evangelistic Clubs, and the Gideons infused spiritual fellowship with the elitism of advertising culture. They were confident that they could steer the masses to Christ and free enterprise from the top down. Indeed, for a few exhilarating years, World War II seemed to give America and its missionaries dominion over the globe. Piety, patriotism, and power drew LeTourneau, Taylor, and the new National Association of Evangelicals to the center of it all, Washington, D.C. The marriage of religious and economic conservatism since the 1970s, which surprised many historians, reflects historical continuity rather than evangelical retreat.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Butler, Jon, Stout, Harry S.
School: Yale University
School Location: United States -- Connecticut
Source: DAI-A 71/08, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Religious history, American history
Keywords: 20th-century conservatism, Business, Entrepreneurial, Evangelicalism, Fundamentalism, Great Depression, World War II
Publication Number: 3415348
ISBN: 978-1-124-09161-7
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