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274 CIVIL WAR HISTORY the Opposition itselfreceives no sustained treatment, good orbad. This is unfortunatebecause during the 1830's both the concept and the reality of an effective, loyal opposition on the national level received a tremendous boost. As for retrospection, Latner dutifully mentions historians who consider Jackson & Co. misguided or worse, but he declines to joust with the likes of Pessen, Govan, Rogin, et al. Again, a pity, since all history is historiography. Within the limits which Latner set for himself, he has succeeded creditably. The interpretations will be too pro-Jacksonian for many readers (some may complain: "and why didn't you handle Jackson and slavery?"), but what is offered is a sensible and perceptive analysis of some major aspects of the Jacksonian presidency. Frank Otto Gatell University of California, Los Angeles The Politics of Benevolence: Revival Religion and American Voting Behavior. By John L. Hammond. (Norwood, New Jersey: Ablex Publishing Company, 1979. Pp. xi, 243. $16.50.) The scholarly community's attitude toward evangelical Christianity, revivalism, and Puritanism, which reached its nadir in the twenties and diirties, has risen markedly since the work of Perry Miller, John C. Miller, and Timothy Smith in the 1950's, although Richard Hofstadter's charge of evangelical "anti-intellectualism" in the 1960's indicates die persistence of negative themes. If Smith argued convincingly in 1957 that evangelicals led the social reform movements of the Civil War era, political sociologist John L. Hammond of Hunter College and the Center for Policy Research, makes a persuasive case in this remarkable book for the direct role of revival religion in political abolitionism and prohibition. Drawing extensively on sociology of religion literature (Weber, Lipset, Geertz), political behaviorist studies (Berelson, Lazarsfield, Lenski), and historical works (Donald, Gusfield, Cross, Barnes), Hammond shows that the religious revivals of the 1820's in New York and Ohio, led byCharles G. Finney, resulted in a belief system that translated direcdy into political activism against slavery, alcohol, and other societal and individual evils. Subsequendy, a revivalist ethos emerged in the stable, rural, Yankee communities of the "burned-over" district that continued to affect voting patterns until die 1960's. Revivalist communities usually voted Republican, except for the Bryan ticket of 1896. Hammond's thesis rests on careful statistical analysis. First, he measured the degree of revivalism in each county of New York and Ohio in the years 1825-1835 by estimating the proportion of the population converted in revivals. The primary sources were the major religious periodicals and county-level published census data obtained BOOK REVIEWS 275 from the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research. Multiple regression coefficients were computed to explain the connection between membership in the Anti-Slavery Society and Liberty party voting in the 1840's. Among numerous geographical and occupational variables, such as the proportion of Yankees, Southerners, or Catholics in the county, and the number of farms per capita, the best indicator of abolitionist political strength was the extent of revivalism. Hammond further demonstrates that the religious belief system or theology of revivalist Christianity is the only plausible explanation of abolitionism. He convincingly refutes the traditional theories of abolitionism— Donald's and Gusfield's "status anxiety" theory, Lenski's thesis of "communal involvement," and the social structural group theory of Campbell and the political behavioralists. On the other hand, Hammond accepts Hay's view that the prohibition crusade was Protestant rural America's "response to industrialism." Although Hammond's statistics support his thesis of the salience of strong religious ideals in political behavior, he admits that his own personal involvement in the civil rights and anti-war movements of the 1960's convinced him that idealism often inspires political reform movements. Interestingly, the author's warm sympathy for the abolitionists' "politics of benevolence" is not transferred to the late nineteenth century prohibitionists. The curious rationale offered is that the presumed beneficiaries of prohibition, unlike slaves, did not want help. However, the targets of abolitionist activity—slave owners—did not desire "help" either. Despite a few misdirected targets of benevolence, such as alcohol, Hammond asserts that "collective action inspired by conviction remains necessary to force government to respond to the will of the people" (p. x...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 274-276
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
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