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Crossings and Dwellings

Crossings and Dwellings

(p.15) Chapter One Crossings and Dwellings
Evangelical Gotham
Kyle B. Roberts
University of Chicago Press

This chapter focuses on the evangelical New Yorkers who experienced a spiritual crossing in the midst of a terrestrial one in the generation following the American Revolution. This period proved one of unprecedented mobility, both voluntary and forced, throughout the Atlantic World. Revolutions in British North America, France, and Haiti at the end of the century and in Spanish America at the beginning of the next, mobilized large numbers of soldiers and created streams of refugees. To help them make sense of their movements, many turned to religion. The primacy evangelicalism placed on individualism especially appealed to a generation of women and men set adrift from their families and the close-knit communities of their youth as they navigated a world of revolution, upheaval, and modernity. Evangelicalism resonated with contemporary intellectual developments in secular society often associated with the Enlightenment. Making the transition from crossing to dwelling helped women and men orient themselves in unfamiliar places, build communities, and inhabit religiously remade selves in new homes and homelands.

Keywords:   New York City, urban evangelicalism, evangelicals, American Revolution, New Yorkers, refugees

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