Cailley Formichella Kingdom of Matthias 04.04.

12 1202521480

1. Explain how the story of Matthias represents the religious revivalism of the Second Great Awakening and the social reform movements that followed. a. Elijah Pierson was among the first members of Matthias's cult. He was a very unlikely candidate for much membership. In the 1820s he was one of New York's best-known religious reformers. He was involved in the Free Church movement and was a passionate evangelical in the Finneyite mode. b. Beginning Idea: Young Elijah was taught the Calvinist doctrine: God has placed men and women in certain orders according to His divine will, and people should be content with their station and act according to their station. Misbehavior would mean damnation and ruination of the town. c. In 1829, Elijah and Sarah moved to Bowery Hill to join a burgeoning perfectionist community. Under Elijah, this community became the Retrenchment Society. They all dressed very plainly, and sold all their expensive furniture. They also restricted their diets. Sometimes Elijah went for days without eating. i. Elijah quit South Baptist Church in 1830 to organize his own Bowery Hill church. The community became cultish in their Christian fervor, meeting as many as fourteen times in a single day and fasting regularly. Elijah preached sermons full of the prophecies revealed to him. d. Matthews found new inspiration in, of all places, the African Methodist Church, an allblack congregation. e. Matthews and family next tried their luck in Albany. The city was undergoing a commercial revolution because of the new Erie Canal. f. Matthews came to resent men like Edward Kirk and their Finneyite ways. Matthews felt Finneyites were trying to disrupt the natural order that had women subordinate to men. g. No one knows how exactly Matthews came to know about Elijah Pierson, but on May 5, 1832, Matthews knocked at Elijah's door. h. The evangelical sermons are quite anti-woman in their tone and content (Matthews) i. Matthews' version of the universe held men, and especially fathers, in the highest regard. Men were the source of truth. Women were not sources of truth and were not fit to teach religion in any way. 2. How does the story of Matthias demonstrate the upheavals of the 19th century such as the market revolution and changing social values. a. Elijah's flight to New York was not unusual at this time, as many rural young men headed to the city to find their fortune. Elijah was responsible and studious, and he worked earnestly for years. In 1820, at age thirty-four, Elijah and a partner named John Steinbrenner opened a mercantile firm on Pearl Street. b. The Female Missionary Society was at the forefront of this kind of thinking. Women, rather than men, became the new centers of moral instruction and domestic authority. Problems were in fact blamed on oppressive patriarchies. At the extreme, family and marriage institutions were seen as causes of sin rather than protections against sin. These extremists branched out into "perfectionist" sects, and Elijah became a leader of this

less dependent on transatlantic trade than to the market revolution in northeastern agriculture. like many other merchants. a dumping ground for religious lunatics. Heart Estate (aka Mount Zion) would eventually be signed over to Pierson. Matthews frequently whipped his wife Margaret. Benjamin (Ann’s husband) and Elijah Pierson performed whatever transactions Matthews ordered them to. The Retrenchment Society built a school for poor children. Pierson became involved in the "perfectionist" evangelical movement. his own visions) clearly indicated that women occupy a subordinate position to men. Part 5. It was women who should cook for and serve the men at the dinner table. Hatred of Women Implicit (and sometimes explicit) in Matthews' bizarre theology is a hostility towards women. and thus only men could teach the will of God. The Anti-Burgher church stressed patriarchy: men led their families in prayer and other activities and church elders were always men. and later with the retrenchment movement that stressed avoidance of luxury in dress and furnishings. it was a scouting expedition at the edges of a new experimental evangelicalism that had gripped a large segment of New York's up-and-coming merchant families. (Matthews grew up in this atmosphere) c. and with many years of hard work. This societal structure was threatened by an evangelical movement that was de-emphasizing the father and emphasizing the role of the mother as teacher and household leader. Religious revivalism quotes  "The Bowery Hill community was not. 33 . Matthews story became ideal fodder for an emerging "penny press. Elijah Pierson. and many men like him. The couple soon after formed the Female Asylum Society to take younger prostitutes off the streets. could derail good men from pursuing God's mission. women were certainly not equipped (intellectually or otherwise) to teach about God. i. including real estate purchases and the buying of invention patents. He found himself on Pearl Street. God spoke only to men. e. He believed the Bible (and later. and was later arrested and convicted for beating his daughter Isabella.perfectionist movement. felt threatened by this change and responded by retreating to more conservative conceptions of how the family and community should function. he became a successful trader and was well-respected in the community. Pearl Street merchants were a new generation of merchants. Matthews. as some of New York's more conservative Christians were beginning to mutter." Elijah Pierson. and organized a mission to the Jews. and the poor decisions drove Benjamin to financial ruin. This community functioned as a patriarchy: the church elders were all men. p. Simultaneous to his merchant work. and fathers led their families in prayer and were the undisputed head of the household. To Matthews. f. with their sensuality and lust. He saw women as temptresses and devils who. who rented to Matthews at the rate of one dollar a year. The authors trace the foundation of this sentiment to Matthews' upbringing in a strict Scottish Calvinist community. On the contrary. a belief Matthews instituted at his Mount Zion estate." a new kind of newspaper that focused on crime and human interest stories rather than financial or political news. d. established an office on Pearl Street.

page 120)  Market revolution quotes   "Isabella brought Elijah Pierson into the parlor. (It should also be noted that Matthias’s extreme love for personal opulence acts an inferiority complex in which he is compensating for his economic failures prior to the establishment of his Kingdom. “Parts of the Prophet’s food code. no buying or selling. had nothing to do with even the most wildly imagined Judaism… *and+ stemmed not from Matthias’s kinship with the ancient Hebrews but from his hatred of new-fangled. [Matthews] now realized. crowding out the political news and mercantile reports that were the staple of New York journalism in favor of more fanciful. self-professed Christians like Edward Kirk were really devils. 82 "The Ann Folger that Isabella observed was no longer the chaste and . Matthias’s resentment for the Market Revolution was a fundamental building block in his Kingdom.Social Structure quotes   "In evangelical homes the primary moral teachers were no longer fathers who laid down the law. well-educated. half-idealized Coila” (110). Matthias’s Kingdom sought to return to the rural. 146 Paper Ideas Matthias builds a kingdom and society on the Ben Folger estate that represents his attempt to counteract the Market Revolution and Second Great Awakening that dismantled his life. Part 3. Part 1." The Downfall. Aspects of life in the Kingdom are indicative of an internal conflict within Matthias as he lashes out at the failures brought to him by the Market Revolution and the Second Great Awakening “In the Kingdom of Matthias there would be no market. This is Matthias’s attempt to strike out against the Market Revolution. no wage system with its insidious domination of one father over another." The Kingdom. middle-class ways introduced by the market revolution” (109). such as with the food code. His Kingdom “echoed the rustic abundance of the [his] half-remembered. This makes it apparent that despite his vigorous recitation and belief in his Judaic principles of God. no money. to suit his anti-Market sentiments. 22 "Polished. at times lurid accounts of life and death in the emerging metropolis. Part 5. traditional roots he was familiar with in Coila prior to his failures in the Market Revolution. with its themes of religious delusion. come to spread disorder in the world. and (in time) alleged murder. He was the kind of man Matthias would convert or destroy. p. p. p. He continued to attack the Market culture by moving the Kingdom to the countryside and “reviv*ing+ the rural ways he had known in his youth” (prior to his experience in the Market) (106). was perfect fare for the penny press editors." (The Kingdom. Part 6. He even changed decorum. however. They achieved their objective by wresting women from their godly subordination to men and by telling them that they had special powers. sexual depravity.” housewife of her Christian days. She was now a sexually charged temptress who threatened Matthias with a peculiarly feminine chaos. no economic oppression of any kind” (96). p. they were loving mothers who prayed with their children and taught them right from wrong. The Matthias story." Elijah Pierson.) . Part 4." Robert Matthews. a merchandiser who made money through what the Prophet deemed effeminate mockwork that impoverished better men. 92 "[T]he penny papers based their success on gaining a mass circulation among the urban working classes.

Matthias’s subordination of women and rebuke of Christianity as a whole indicate that his Kingdom was also built on his resentment for the Second Great Awakening and how it had played a role in destroying his prior life. Matthias condemned women in his “Spirit of Truth” by preaching that “every thing that has the smell of woman will be destroyed” (93) and that “female spirits… participate in Christian chaos and disobedience” (95). . The actions of his wife. Matthias even blamed Christianity as a whole (part of his anti-Second Great Awakening feelings) by claiming “Christianity was the work of devils” (103). and he saw her subordination as a fundamental cause of the failure in his life. led to Matthias being ostracized and abandoned by his community. Margaret.Matthias also sees that the empowerment of women seen in the Second Great Awakening was a factor in his demise and pitiable state prior to his Kingdom. As a result.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful

Master Your Semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Special offer: Get 4 months of Scribd and The New York Times for just $1.87 per week!

Master Your Semester with a Special Offer from Scribd & The New York Times