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William Howard Day came to Oberlin in at the age of 17, where he enrolled in the collegiate program at Oberlin College.

He brought with him a strong disdain for slavery and racial injustice, learned from his mother, who had escaped from slavery in upstate New York and settled in Manhattan. It was there, as a nine year old boy, that William witnessed the terrible race riots that wreaked havoc on Reverend Charles G. But now, attending the college that Finney and Tappan had done so much to turn into an abolitionist stronghold, William wasted no time in making his mark. Working closely with Vashon and Cox, William became a leading orator and organizer of the Oberlin black community.

Be not despondent, we shall at last conquer. During the long winter recesses between semesters, William would travel to Canada and teach in the many black settlements founded there by refugees from American slavery. He also found employment in Oberlin during the school months as a typesetter for the Oberlin Evangelist. And as new students enrolled in Oberlin College, he developed new friendships. Another new friendship was with Lucie Stanton.

Manuscript Collection No. 161

She had been raised in Cleveland in a home that was a station on the Underground Railroad. It was against state law at that time for black children to attend public school, so her stepfather, a wealthy African American barber, started his own private school in Cleveland, which Lucie attended. Thus Lucie, like William, came to Oberlin highly conscious of American racism and slavery.

She and William naturally gravitated towards each other and began a courtship that would last several years. Resolved, That we the colored citizens of Lorain county hereby declare, that whereas the Constitution of our common country gives us citizenship, we hereby, each to each, pledge ourselves to support the other in claiming our rights under the United States Constitution, and in having the laws oppressing us tested…. Resolved, That we still adhere to the doctrine of urging the slave to leave immediately with his hoe on his shoulder, for a land of liberty….

Resolved, That we urge all colored persons and their friends, to keep a sharp look-out for men-thieves and their abettors, and to warn them that no person claimed as a slave shall be taken from our midst without trouble… [7]. We believe … that every human being has rights in common, and that the meanest of those rights is legitimately beyond the reach of legislation, and higher than the claims of political expediency…. We ask for equal privileges, not because we would consider it a condescension on your part to grant them — but because we are MEN, and therefore entitled to all the privileges of other men in the same circumstances….

Charles Grandison Finney

We ask permission to send our deaf and dumb, our lunatic, blind, and poor to the asylums prepared for each. We ask that we may be one people, bound together by one common tie, and sheltered by the same impartial law…. It so happened that the General Assembly was deadlocked between representatives of the Democratic and Whig parties, with a handful of abolitionist members of the new anti-slavery Free Soil Party holding the balance of power — and willing and able to wield that power effectively. It was a significant step forward for Ohio, and a major victory for William.

Attrition Among Protestant Missionaries in China, –

Lucie also was chosen to deliver a commencement address, which was also reprinted in the Oberlin Evangelist. Dark hover the clouds. The Anti-Slavery pulse beats faintly. The right of suffrage is denied.

The colored man is still crushed by the weight of oppression. He may possess talents of the highest order, yet for him is no path of fame or distinction opened. He can never hope to attain those privileges while his brethren remain enslaved.


Since, therefore, the freedom of the slave and the gaining of our rights, social and political, are inseparably connected, let all the friends of humanity plead for those who may not plead their own cause…. Truth and right must prevail. The bondsman shall go free. Look to the future! It rushes upward. How sweet, how majestic, from those starry isles float those deep inspiring sounds over the ocean of space! Softened and mellowed they reach earth, filling the soul with harmony, and breathing of God—of love—and of universal freedom. At times, the evangelist seemed to move beyond a mere antislavery agenda though; in several of his lectures and sermons it is suggested that he was nearing support for complete racial equality.

In his textbook on systematic theology, he argues that true conversion results in benevolence which in turn results in impartiality. This love can have no fellowship with those absurd and ridiculous prejudices that are often rife among nominal Christians. At Oberlin, the new professor faced a disheartening reality: students, caught up in abolitionist frenzy, were leaving the ministry to become anti-slavery activists. Threats were made to 27 Hardman, But we had to struggle with poverty and many trials, for a course of years. Bone 20 would be no need of other organizations for the same subject.

Southern response to Northern abolitionism took a more aggressive turn in the late s, and Charles Finney reacted through more intentional antislavery methods. Though he continued to make his presence known through revivalist tours, he also further developed in theology in two important works, Lectures to Professing Christians and Systematic Theology Finney, ever a pragmatist, was willing to re-examine his theology in light of the agitated political climate.

For what? For reasoning with them about their duty. Barnes and Dwight L. Dumonds, eds. Because God did not force His will upon the saved, the heavenly liberty of God needed to be realized through the freedom of all individuals on Earth. In , Finney also attended the Ohio Anti-Slavery convention, where he affirmed his sentiments that obedience to the fugitive law was immoral. Slavery needed to be more forcefully addressed by Christian leaders. Finney remained ambivalent on the point of ethic mixing throughout his life, but after , he began to remind his listeners and followers that all races were at one time united through the creation of Adam in the Genesis account.

When Charles Finney began his ministry in , he thought the millennium was fast approaching, though one could never be sure of the date. Finney, who had been considered a moderate on the issue of abolitionism in the s, exhorted arguments for disunionism by the s. Bone 23 Benevolence knows neither Jew nor Greek, neither bond nor free, white not black, Barbarian, Scythian, European, Asiatic, African, nor American, but accounts all men as men, and, by virtue of their manhood, calls every man a brother, and seeks the interests of all and of each.

Qualms about the imperialist conflict in Mexico, which lasted from to , led many ministers in Protestant churches to challenge U. While he was not as proactively engaged on the issue of peace in comparison to abolitionism and temperance, his writings on the nature of 37 Finney, Systematic Theology, Bone 24 warfare remain influential, stemming primarily from the importance of the role and importance of the minister in the early American context. The first peace societies in America were developed by Northern clergymen in the early s.

Similar to the debate held among anti-slavery advocates concerning gradualism and immediate abolition, peace activists ranged in their position, from total pacifism to just war theory. Valerie H. Zeigler, professor of Religious Studies at Rhodes College, argues that two competing temperaments emerged in the peace discussion in antebellum America: cultural Christians and radical nonresistants.

This group, though holding a variety of opinions among its membership, generally sought to create a Christian civilization through the institutions of republican government.

The millennium was soon approaching; in fact, some argued that it had already begun in the hearts of true Christians. Let him love his enemies, and be prepared to render always good for evil, and the millennium has come to him. Bone 25 second group, called the nonresistants, emerged under the guidance of William Lloyd Garrison. Finney would be placed within the first camp of peace advocates, those who believed that Christians could work within the boundaries of government to bring about the rule of Christ on earth. He became increasingly cautious about Christians working within the political system though due to the complexities caused by party politics and the Mexican-American War.

In Systematic Theology, he makes a distinction between legal law and moral law. While legal law primarily focuses on necessity, moral law, stemming from the mind of God, revolves around the motive to seek the highest good for all people. Bone 26 Christian after conversion, directs the actions of free will.

He also understood a progression in regard to governments and their relationship to moral law. Despotism, seen as utilizing full coercion, was the farthest away from moral law, while democracy, seen as the fulfillment of intention, was the closet to the mind of God. Moral law had yet to supplant legal law, as Finney would demonstrate in his crusade against the Mexican-American War. Bone 27 Systematic Theology. Written in , this work features a type of dialectical tension between Jacksonian Democracy and Northern Evangelical attacks on patriotic culture.

Finney brought to the religious climate a type of free will democratization that echoed the expanding political enfranchisement of the s. In the s, policymakers in Washington D. Warfare was seen as a distraction to the more important conversation on revivalism.

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No doubt, God is holding the rod of WAR over the heads of this nation. He is waiting before he lets loose his judgments, to see whether the church will do right. The nation is under his displeasure, because the church had conducted in such a manner with respect to revivals. How quickly would war swallow up the revival spirit. The spirit of war is any thing but the spirit of revivals.