Catalogue


Visionary republic [electronic resource] : millennial themes in American thought 1756-1800 /
Ruth H. Bloch.
imprint
Cambridge [Cambridgeshire] ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 1985.
description
xvi, 291 p. : ill. ; 24 m.
ISBN
0521268117
format(s)
Book
More Details
imprint
Cambridge [Cambridgeshire] ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 1985.
isbn
0521268117
restrictions
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
general note
Includes index.
catalogue key
8096427
 
Bibliography: p. 233-284.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1986-07:
Bloch (UCLA) has done painstaking research to demonstrate that a biblically based millennial component entered into the arguments that resulted in the American Revolution, and generated a fervor that cannot be explained otherwise. This element has been neglected by historians who concentrated on the Whig political position. At the height of her argument, Bloch develops a reciprocity between these two approaches. She traces the influence of millennialism down through the period of contention among Americans over the French Revolution and its aftermath. Students of the period will find particularly interesting the interrelation she demonstrates between Enlightenment and millennial thought. Where the rhetoric of millennial thought spills over into secular literature (just as in our day secular humanists might quote the King James Version of the Bible for the sake of its literary quality) difficulties arise in distinguishing it from poetic expression. In a number of cases, Bloch concludes chapters with generalizations that outstrip the evidence she has provided. In addition, one may quarrel with her use of the term ``Manichaeanism'' to describe Christian belief in dualism. The Manichees maintained that forces of good and evil in the universe were eternal and equal, a position Christians have historically rejected, insisting evil and it perpetrators are ultimately subject to the will of the deity. These are minor blemishes, however, on a book that scholars will find thoughtful, challenging, and that will no doubt prove influential.-E. Cassara, George Mason University
Reviews
Review Quotes
'To have displayed the scope and breadth of millennial themes in popular culture is in itself a significant contribution ... Bloch has read carefully and widely, intelligently and sometimes brilliantly, to interpret popular expectancy in the late eighteenth century. It is a pleasure to experience the vision with her.' William and Mary Quarterly
'This helpful book succeeds on several levels. It offers first a thorough canvassing of American millennial and apocalyptic writing from before the French and Indian War through the administration of Thomas Jefferson ... But the most significant contribution of Visionary Republic is its patient explanation of the means by which millennial thought interacted with the major political ideas of the period.' Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion
'For at least twenty years, American historians have explored the impact of belief in the millennium upon the thinking of the revolutionary generation. In their pioneering works, Alan Heimert and Ernest Tuveson emphasized the uniqueness of the American interpretation of the millennial tradition ... Ruth Bloch's fine study builds upon all these earlier works. Drawing on an analysis of all the source materials pertaining to the millennium printed in the American colonies and the United States during the second half of the eighteenth century, she concludes that millennialism was of central importance because it 'provided the main structure of meaning through which contemporary events were linked to an exalted image of an ideal world'.' Journal of American History
'Visionary Republic is an excellent book. By forcing us to confront the breadth and richness of millennialist thought in the Revolutionary age, Bloch challenges many comfortable generalizations about the sources and substance of early American political thought.' Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, July 1986
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
An account of the role of millennial thinking in the age of the American Revolution, this book demonstrates the popularity and diffusion of millennial expectations among several types of American Protestants by the middle of the eighteenth century and illuminates the way these hopes shaped the understanding of the Revolution and the symbolic meaning of the new nation. Unlike most previous works, this study extends well beyond the social and geographic perimeters of the New England clergy and is based on a wide range of secular as well as religious literature. The book not only sheds new light on the role of religion in the American Revolution, but it also surveys an important facet of the intellectual history of the early Republic. Analysing the interplay of millennial, republican, and Enlightenment ideas about the future, the author reveals both complementary and contradictory themes in American thought of an older cultural tradition of millennialism while at the same time tracing variations and changes within that tradition during this formative period of American history.
Description for Library
An account of the role of millennial thinking in the age of the American Revolution, this book demonstrates the popularity and diffusion of millennial expectations among several types of American Protestants by the middle of the eighteenth century and illuminates the way these hopes shaped the understanding of the Revolution and the symbolic meaning of the new nation. Unlike most previous works, this study extends well beyond the social and geographic perimeters of the New England clergy and is based on a wide range of secular as well as religious literature.
Main Description
An account of the role of millennial thinking in the age of the American Revolution, this book demonstrates the popularity and diffusion of millennial expectations among several types of American Protestants by the middle of the eighteenth century and illuminates the way these hopes shaped the understanding of the Revolution and the symbolic meaning of the new nation. Unlike most previous works, this study extends well beyond the social and geographic perimeters of the New England clergy and is based on a wide range of secular as well as religious literature. The book not only sheds light on the role of religion in the American Revolution, but it also surveys an important facet of the intellectual history of the early Republic. Analysing the interplay of millennial, republican and Enlightenment ideas about the future, the author reveals both complementary and contradictory themes in American thought of an older cultural tradition of millennialism while at the same time tracing variations and changes within that tradition during this formative period of American history.
Description for Bookstore
Analysing the interplay of millennial, republican and Enlightenment ideas about the future, the author reveals both complementary and contradictory themes in American thought of an older cultural tradition of millennialism while at the same time tracing variations and changes within that tradition during this formative period of American history.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgements
Introduction
The Development of a Millennial Tradition in Colonial America
Millennialism and the origins of Anglo-American radicalism
Colonial millennialism on the eve of the revolutionary crisis
The Rise and Decline of Millennialism in the Revolutionary Era
Whig resistance and apocalyptical Manichaeanism
The revolutionary millennialism of the 1770's
Visions of progress and ruin in the critical period
The Eschatological Revival of the 1790's
Exegesis
Francophilic millennialism and partisan Republican ideology
Biblical millennialism and radical Enlightened utopianism
Francophobic reaction and evangelical activism
Notes
Index
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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