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Beyond TolerationThe Religious Origins of American Pluralism$
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Chris Beneke

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195305555

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2006

DOI: 10.1093/0195305558.001.0001

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“[M]ingle with Us as Americans”: Religious Pluralism after the Founding

(p.203) Conclusion
Beyond Toleration

Chris Beneke (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The conclusion delineates the 19th-century boundaries of American religious pluralism. Those limits emerged most clearly in the persistence of anti-Semitism, the violence inflicted upon Mormons in western New York, Illinois, and Missouri, and the vitriolic common school debates of 1840 and 1841, which pitted New York’s Roman Catholic leaders against the Protestant-dominated Public School Society. In the case of the Mormons and the Catholics, especially, the 18th-century formula of equal rights for private worship and public inclusion failed. Anonymous living in the increasingly populous cities and the vast expanses of cheap land in the west allowed religious groups to avoid integration. Meanwhile, the continued dominance of Calvinist Protestantism made such isolation attractive. Yet, an important precedent had already been set. The success that early Americans had in maintaining civil peace and encouraging cooperative endeavors between different religious groups provided a reassuring template for future encounters with diversity.

Keywords:   nineteenth century, anti-Semitism, Mormons, common schools, New York, Catholics, integration, Calvinist Protestantism, isolation, civil peace

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