This study of early American Methodism
analyzes the roots and impact of conflict within The Holston Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, before and during the Civil War.
Methodists married a centralized formal structure of governance with deep localism and local power: "[T]he bone and sinew of American Methodism
was its local cast, its face-to-face exhortations, its communitarian quality," wrote one scholar of antebellum Methodism and its many divisions over slavery.
In the end, especially in the case of American Methodism
, the reformers triumphed, and grape juice was adopted by many Protestant churches.
Consider, for example, the scholarly literature on American Methodism
, which has flourished in the last twenty-five years.
The American Revolution had done much to differentiate American Methodism
from its British Wesleyan parent.
As it turned out, Hammet's move to the low country was fateful for both American Methodism
and the spread of Caribbean Afro-Protestant Christianity to the United States.
(25) The class meeting was, according to Wigger, the "basic building block of American Methodism
" (Wigger, Taking Heaven, 81).
"Fighting Christians: Violence and Religion in Early American Methodism
." The Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, California, 2005.
Between 1760 and 1800, American Methodism
attracted hundreds of itinerant preachers, hosted numerous revival meetings, expanded its geographic base immensely, and increased exponentially the ranks of its followers to more than 64,000.
(23.) For more on the relationship between Apess and Methodism see Tiro, "Denominating `Savage.'" Tiro suggests the importance of Methodism for Apess by pointing out the double reference in the title of his autobiography, "a son of the forest," which identifies Apess "not only as an Indian, but also as a product of that hallmark of American Methodism
, the `plain-folks camp-meeting'" Tiro further acknowledges Apess's selective use of the term "brethren" which he uses to refer to both Methodists and Native Americans (655).
The pivotal figure in American Methodism
, Asbury, arrived in 1771.
He brings to life the pious and holy man, son of an English gardener, who became one of America's leading religious voices and, as Wigger shows, the person most responsible for shaping American Methodism