Modern imagination of the Puritans typically casts them in a repressive, conservative light. But that wasn't always the case. Abolitionist activists in the nineteenth century, especially in New England, understood their Puritan heritage as one with radical political and spiritual responsibilities. Kenyon Gradert's new book, Puritan Spirits in the Abolitionist Imagination (U Chicago Press, 2020) tells the surprising story of unexpected connections between the English Civil Wars and the literary drumbeats for a holy war in late antebellum America.
Your host, Ryan Shelton (@_ryanshelton) is a social historian of British and American Protestantism and a PhD researcher at Queen’s University Belfast.