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The Christian Century and the Rise of the Protestant Mainline$
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Elesha J. Coffman

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199938599

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199938599.001.0001

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Two Kinds of Influence

Two Kinds of Influence

(p.80) 4 Two Kinds of Influence
The Christian Century and the Rise of the Protestant Mainline

Elesha J. Coffman

Oxford University Press

This chapter first describes the Century’s political advocacies in the late 1920s, especially pacifism and Prohibition. Next, drawing from more than 2,100 unpublished letters, it paints a portrait of the magazine’s audience, describing who read the Century, how they read it, and how it contributed, or did not contribute, to their personal and professional lives. This analysis suggests that while the Century had a voice in national and international affairs, it did not convert (directly or through its clergy readers) large numbers of American Protestants to its progressive vision. Rather, the Century exercised its most powerful influence in the process of mainline identification, both in the sense of defining which writers, institutions, and ideas belonged to the emerging mainline tradition and in the sense of offering readers an opportunity to identify with that tradition.

Keywords:   pacifism, Prohibition, elite, audience, identification, influence, The Christian Century

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