American System


While Sabbatarianism was more of a coherent movement, those who opposed restrictions on Sunday mail, Sunday travel, etc. were sometimes called anti-sabbatarians. One prominent anti-sabbatarian was the colorful Richard M. Johnson, whose words on the subject can be easily found in the Annals of America, vol 5, selection 20 (p284).


The religious doctrine that the fate of an individual (particularly whether they go to Heaven or Hell), is ultimately up to that individual. Contrary to the Calvinist doctrine of predestination and God's unfathomable choosing of some few humans to be saved (none of whom deserve it). Traditional Presbyterians and Conservative congregationalists tended to reject Arminianism, while Methodists thoroughly embraced it, and New School Presbyterians (see Lyman Beecher and Charles Grandison Finney), leaned strongly in that direction.

Jacobus Arminius (1560-1609) was a Dutch clergyman and rebel against the Calvinist doctrines of the Reformed Church. Like many other scholars of his time, he went by an assumed Latin name.



Democratic Republican

Era of Good Feelings




First Party System

National Republican





A strict and legally enforced observance of the Sabbath was a feature of many early American communities, especially in New England.

One of the religiously inspired "reform movements" of the 1820s and 1830s was called the Sabbatarian movement, which opposed such prevalent practices as Sunday mail delivery (a sin by our own federal government no less), or the running of stage coaches, canal lines, and other modes of transportation. Lewis Tappan was one such zealous Sabbatarian.

Second Party System


"The science of philosophy is simply a science of observation. [we must] analyze all these our sensations, thoughts, and emotions ... examine the qualities of our own internal, sentient matter, with the same, and yet more, closeness of scrutiny, that we have applied to the examination of the matter that is without us: finally to investigate the justness of our moral feelings, and to weigh the merit and demerit of human actions; which is in other words, to judge their tendency to produce good or evil, -- to excite pleasurable or painful feelings in ourselves or others ... all is simply a process of investigation." Frances Wright, A Few Days in Athens (Boston 1850), p173, quoted in Eckhardt, Fanny Wright, p135.

Whether this is a true version of the philosophical position (nearly synonymous with empiricism?) or not Frances Wright's statement represents an important tendency in American thought of this period, which, in somewhat different forms, infused the thoughts of both radical utilitarians like her, and orthodox Unitarians.

This idea that we should above all consult our senses in all our actions is generally held by its proponents to be liberating. They, or at least Jacksonian American proponents of this way of thinking, tend to hold that ideals, a priori truths, inspirations, etc., are all superstitions that will mislead and quite possibly enslave us.


War of 1812

Water Cure


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