ERIC Number: ED236713
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Jun
Reference Count: 0
Henry Ward Beecher: A Nation's Tribune.
Chandler, Daniel Ross
Henry Ward Beecher was America's most prominent 19th century liberal preacher and a major spokesperson for New England Transcendentalism. His philosophy integrated four fundamental themes: the creation of a moral code based on the internalization of values and peer group pressures, the establishment of the reform ideal of the impartial nonpartisan public critic, the emphasis upon reaching the "common man" through mass communication, and the adherence to a naturalistic Christianity that made religion a matter of common sense for the American believer. As a powerful and eloquent lecturer beyond his Plymouth Church in Brooklyn, New York, Beecher championed free inquiry, explaining that knowledge about God is gained through humanity's moral experiences and historical developments. He gained fame, not only through his dramatic speaking tours in England and Scotland during the American Civil War, but also by supporting President Lincoln and emancipation, establishing the Republican party, and delivering the principal address when the American flag was returned in victory to fly above Fort Sumpter. Although born during an era pervaded with Calvanism, hell, and eternal punishment, Beecher died a believer in evolution. By preaching of God as a compassionate father, he freed the minds of men and women from their bondage to the Puritan God of fear, and by exerting persistent pressure upon American culture, he made religious principles pragmatic practices. (HTH)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Beecher (Henry Ward); Nineteenth Century History; Transcendentalism
Note: Paper presented at the Gettysburg Conference on Rhetorical Transactions in the Civil War Era (Gettysburg, PA, June 24-25, 1983).