Methodism and the Southern Mind, 1770-1810

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This book looks at the role of Methodism in the Revolutionary and early national South. When the Methodists first arrived in the South, Lyerly argues, they were critics of the social order. By advocating values traditionally deemed feminine , treating white women and African Americans with considerable equality, and preaching against wealth and slavery, Methodism challenged Southern secular mores. For this reason, Methodism evoked sustained opposition, especially from elite white men. Lyerly analyses the public denunciations, domestic assaults on Methodist women and children, and mob violence against black Methodists. These attacks, Lyerly argues, served to bind Methodists more closely to one another; they were sustained by the belief that suffering was salutary and that persecution was a mark of true faith.