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All Things Human

Henry Codman Potter and the Social Gospel in the Episcopal Church

Michael Bourgeois

Publication Year: 2003

In addition to being the sixth bishop of the Diocese of New York, Henry Codman Potter (1835-1908) was a prominent voice in the Social Gospel movement of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This book, the first in-depth study of Potter's life and work, examines his career in the Episcopal church as well as the origins and legacy of his progressive social views. _x000B__x000B_As industrialization and urbanization spread in the nineteenth century, the Social Gospel movement sought to apply Christian teachings to effect improvements in the lives of the less fortunate. Potter was firmly in this tradition, concerning himself especially with issues of race, the place of women in society, questions of labor and capital, and what he called "political righteousness." Placing Potter against the wider backdrop of nineteenth-century American Protestantism, Bourgeois explores the experiences and influences that led him to espouse these socially conscious beliefs, to work for social reform, and to write such works as Sermons of the City (1881) and The Citizen in His Relation to the Industrial Situation (1902). _x000B__x000B_In telling Potter's remarkable story, All Things Human stands as a valuable contribution to intellectual and religious history as well as an exploration of the ways in which religion and society interact.

Published by: University of Illinois Press

Series: Studies in Anglican History

Title Page

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Copyright Page

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pp. ix-x

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pp. 1-22

To the surprise of many contemporary observers, the Episcopal Church played a central role in the social awakening of white American Protestantism from the end of the Civil War to the start of World War I, an awakening now regarded as continuous with the earlier revivals and awakenings of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries ...

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1. A Many-Sided Mission

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pp. 23-57

In 1857, twenty-three years old and the son of the Evangelical bishop of Pennsylvania and nephew of the High Church bishop of New York, Henry Potter began his ministry not in an established urban congregation in Philadelphia but at Christ Church, Greensburgh, a mission church in a small western Pennsylvania town.1 ...

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2. Brotherhood and Inequality

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pp. 58-83

One critical set of issues facing American Christians in the nineteenth century was that encompassing slavery, emancipation, and postwar racial reform; rising immigration by people of other than northern European ancestry and other than Protestant religious affiliation; ...

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3. The Work and Well-Being of Women

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pp. 84-116

Women were instrumental in the social and ecclesiastical reform movements of the nineteenth century. In the first decades of the century, women were active in the antislavery, peace, and temperance movements; after emancipation they continued to work in these latter two crusades. ...

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4. Political Righteousness

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pp. 117-146

Writing in 1912, Walter Rauschenbusch argued that four major social institutions—family, church, education, and politics—had become Christianized because they had “passed through constitutional changes which have made them to some degree part of the organism through which the spirit of Christ can do its work in humanity.” ...

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5. Reconciling Labor and Capital

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pp. 147-201

The industrial problem was foremost among the interrelated social issues of concern to Henry Codman Potter and his contemporaries. In his 1876 book, Working People and Their Employers, Washington Gladden observed: “Now that slavery is out of the way, the questions that concern the welfare of our free laborers are coming forward; ...

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6. A Work for a Whole Life

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pp. 202-224

In his address to the 1908 New York diocesan convention, delivered four months after the death of Henry Codman Potter, Bishop David Hummel Greer noted that Potter “loved his Church and served it, but his sympathies reached beyond it.” As a result, “without regard to creed or race he loved his fellow men, ...


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pp. 225-262


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pp. 263-276


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pp. 277-288

E-ISBN-13: 9780252090578
Print-ISBN-13: 9780252028779

Page Count: 304
Publication Year: 2003

Series Title: Studies in Anglican History