Goodwill, ministers, and manliness : the idea of benevolence in antebellum American benevolent societies and seminary education.


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This thesis evaluates the idea of benevolence in two antebellum American benevolent societies, the American Education Society (AES) and the American Home Missionary Society (AHMS), and then explores whether or not any notion of benevolence animated three antebellum seminaries. It argues that those two organizations held an idea of benevolence as ministerial manliness - strong and educated male ministers leading and modeling benevolence - as an imagined trait of orthodox Congregational and Presbyterian ministers contrary to historian Ann Douglas's contention of feminized liberal Congregationalist (Unitarian) ministers. Andover Seminary, the first case study, expounded benevolence as ministerial manliness but Union Seminary and Danville Seminary did not propagate any idea of benevolence, leaving ministerial manliness an imagined concept divorced from real ideas in Presbyterian seminaries. Overall, this work nuances the recent scholarly focus on antebellum benevolence and benevolent leadership as mainly female by analyzing male gender and male leadership in the AES and AHMS.