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University Cultural Wars: Rival Protestant Pieties in Early Twentieth-Century Princeton

  • P. C. KEMENY

Abstract

Contrary to conventional wisdom, liberal Protestants, not fundamentalists, attempted to preserve Princeton University's traditional religious mission during the rapid intellectual and social change reshaping American higher education in the early twentieth century. In fact, when fundamentalists in the university community demanded the secularisation of the undergraduate programme, liberal Protestants spurned their efforts. Although American liberal Protestantism gradually dissolved into the surrounding secular culture over the course of the twentieth century, the conflict between the rival pieties of liberal and conservative Protestants reveals how and why liberal Protestantism was able to maintain hegemony over one key institution of American culture – the university – well into the mid-twentieth century.

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I would like to express my appreciation to Kraig Beyerlein, Henry Warner Bowden, Jim Bratt, Joel Carpenter, Betty Kemeny, and to the editors of this JOURNAL and their anonymous reviewer for their helpful criticisms. Material from the papers of John Stewart Burgess, John G. Hibben, Lucius H. Miller, the Philadelphian Society, H. Alexander Smith and George F. Thomas, as well as the minutes of the Trustees of Princeton University, records of the Office of Alumni Records and records of the Secretary are reproduced by kind permission of Princeton University Library. Minutes of the faculty of Princeton Theological Seminary are reproduced by kind permission of Princeton Theological Seminary.

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University Cultural Wars: Rival Protestant Pieties in Early Twentieth-Century Princeton

  • P. C. KEMENY

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