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During the revolutionary age and in the early republic, when racial ideologies were evolving and slavery expanding, some northern blacks surprisingly came to identify very strongly with the American cause and to take pride in calling themselves American. In this intriguing study, Rita Roberts explores this phenomenon and offers an in-depth examination of the intellectual uDuring the revolutionary age and in the early republic, when racial ideologies were evolving and slavery expanding, some northern blacks surprisingly came to identify very strongly with the American cause and to take pride in calling themselves American. In this intriguing study, Rita Roberts explores this phenomenon and offers an in-depth examination of the intellectual underpinnings of antebellum black activists. She shows how conversion to Christianity led a significant and influential population of northern blacks to view the developing American republic and their place in the new nation through the lens of evangelicalism. American identity, therefore, even the formation of an African ethnic community and later an African American identity, developed within the evangelical and republican ideals of the revolutionary age.Evangelical values, Roberts contends, exerted a strong influence on the strategies of northern black reformist activities, specifically abolition, anti-racism, and black community development. The activists and reformers' commitment to the United States and firm determination to make the country live up to its national principles hinged on their continued faith in the possibility of the collective transformation of all Americans. The people of the United States -- both black and white -- they believed, would become a new citizenry, distinct from any population in the world because of their commitment to the tenets of the Christian republican faith.Roberts explores the process by which a collective identity formed among northern free blacks and notes the ways in which ministers and other leaders established their African identity through an emphasis on shared oppression. She shows why, in spite of slavery's expansion in the 1820s and 1830s, northern blacks demonstrated more, not less, commitment to the nation. Roberts then examines the Christian influence on racial theories of some of the major abolitionist figures of the antebellum era, including Frederick Douglass, Martin Delany, and especially James McCune Smith, and reveals how activists' sense of their American identity waned with the intensity of American racism and the passage of laws that further protected slavery in the 1850s. But the Civil War and Emancipation Proclamation, she explains, renewed hope that America would soon become a free and equal nation.Impeccably researched, Evangelicalism and the Politics of Reform in Northern Black Thought, 1776--1863 offers an innovative look at slavery, abolition, and African American history....

Title : Evangelicalism and the Politics of Reform in Northern Black Thought, 1776-1863
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ISBN : 9780807137086
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 261 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Evangelicalism and the Politics of Reform in Northern Black Thought, 1776-1863 Reviews

  • John
    2018-10-26 21:03

    Rita Roberts needs a new title for this book. And really, a new publisher too...this book looks and sounds very boring, but it is not boring once you are actually reading it. Roberts writes that African Americans living in the northern United States in the Early Republic were committed to an American identity, through their evangelical Christianity. They believed (like many white Americans) that America was a special place, chosen by God. America was going to be a place where scripture-based republican ideals would take hold and we would be an example for the world, city on a hill, etc. etc. The only thing holding America back from that promise, they thought, was slavery and the oppression of free black people, but God would help transform America. Eventually, the U.S. would live up to its founding principles and be God's chosen country. The trouble was, the white people didn't really think that oppression of black people was a problem- they thought that America was ALREADY living up to its founding principles. As the years passed, and slavery became even more entrenched in the South while racism took hold in the North, the free black community became ever more discouraged. I also wonder if Roberts should have tried to cover such a long time frame in this book. Her argument works pretty well for the first fifty years she is covering here, but stretching it out for another forty years after that is a bit too much. I think I would have enjoyed the book more if it was exclusively focused on the period leading up to, say, 1820 or so. Quibbles aside though, Roberts has a good argument and lots of research and quality writing to back it up.

  • Daniel
    2018-11-07 19:53

    This is a good book; mind you, it would need to be - the author had been sitting on it for 20 years. There are a few minor points I might question, but it is an excellent overview of a long period of intellectual history.