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In the heyday of temperance reform, temperance – like women’s suffrage and abolitionism – stood in the foreground of the progressive reform agenda, and temperance reformers believed themselves to be basing their actions on the latest scientific research and on up-to-date sound philosophical arguments, specifically the prominent philosophy of Scottish common-sense realism. Their biblical and scientific arguments took place in a larger philosophical and cultural context which sheds light not only on temperance, but on other nineteenth-century reforms.
Over the last three decades, there has been an explosion of scholarship related to American Protestantism. Hundreds, if not thousands, of monographs and journal articles have appeared on this broad topic across the fields of history, theology, ethics, politics, sociology, and literary studies. Numerous scholarly societies – including the American Academy of Religion, the American Historical Association, the American Society for Church History, and the Southern Historical Association, to name just a few –have taken the breadth and diversity of American Protestantism as a subject for extensive discussions.
American Protestantism has been the dominant form of Christianity in United States since the colonial era and has had a profound impact on American society. Understanding this religious tradition is, thus, crucial to understanding American culture. This Companion offers a comprehensive overview of American Protestantism. It considers all its major streams—Anglican, Reformed, Lutheran, Anabaptist, Baptist, Stone-Campbell, Methodist, Holiness, and Pentecostal. Written from various disciplinary perspectives, including history, theology, liturgics, and religious studies, it explores the beliefs and practices around which American Protestant life has revolved. The volume also provides a chronological overview of the tradition's entire history, addresses its prominent theological and sociological features, and explores its numerous intersections with American culture. Aimed at undergraduate and graduate students, as well as an interested general audience, this Companion will be useful both for insiders and outsiders to the American Protestant tradition.