Ben Franklin's World: A Podcast About Early American History

030 Religion in 19th-Century New England

May 19, 201561 min
You may know the stereotype of the “busybody New Englander,” the person who knows all about their neighbors’ private affairs.

This stereotype comes from the New England town-church ideal: The idea that ministers and congregants of the town church had a responsibility to maintain civic and moral order in their town.

Shelby M. Balik, Assistant Professor of History at Metropolitan State University of Denver and author of Rally the Scattered Believers: Northern New England’s Religious Geography, joins us to explore the New England town-church ideal, how it helped New Englanders organize their towns, and why the post-Revolution migration into northern New England forced New Englanders to change and adapt how they maintained civic and moral order within their communities.

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