by Thomas L. Smith
in Revivalism and Social Reform in Mid-Nineteenth Century America
The chapter discusses the mid-19th Century Unitarian convergence with evangelical preaching of a forgiving god apprehended by the individual human spirit. Unitarians of the mainstream were apt to believe such doctrine harmonized well with transcendental theology.
The result was a smudging of Unitarian distinctiveness and a pull toward Christian doctrines by some Unitarian clerics.
Unquestionably, this trend worked against Unitarian distinctiveness and denominationalism. This may help to explain in part the slow organizational growth of Unitarianism in the decades prior to the Civil War.
Pending copyright permissions, the selected text of Thomas Smith’s chapter is not available online, but the book itself is widely available in academic libraries.