Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ph.D. in History


Arch Dalrymple III Department of History

First Advisor

Charles Reagan Wilson

Second Advisor

Kathryn McKee

Third Advisor

Ted Ownby

Relational Format



Christ and Class: The Protestant Episcopal Church in the South, 1760-1865 Ryan Lee Fletcher This dissertation examines the emergence, practices, religious culture, expansion, and social role of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the American South from 1760 to 1865. The dissertation employs three major research methodologies by: (1) centralizing the role of social class in the Episcopal Church's history, (2) seriously considering the Episcopal Church's distinctive theology, and (3) quantifying the connections that linked the Episcopal Church to the South's economic structures. Archival research, periodicals, and published records related to the Protestant Episcopal Church provided the primary evidence used in the formulation of the dissertation's interpretations and conclusions. Many historians of the early American South depict evangelical Protestants as the dominant religious movement in the region as the Protestant Episcopal Church stagnated and supposedly faded following the American Revolution. "Christ and Class" aspires to complicate such analyses by elucidating how the Protestant Episcopal Church's potency in the South during the pre-Civil War period should not be measured by its inferior membership numbers in comparison to the region's other denominations, but rather the institution's vitality hinged upon the social power and devotion of its planter-class communicants.

Included in

History Commons



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