“Exposing Priestcraft and All Its Cognate -isms”: Chaplains, Temperance and Sunday Travel
Many historians argue that the three decades before the Civil War witnessed the apex of evangelical influence in the nineteenth century. However, contest rather than consensus remained the rule. In the late 1840s, a small church—the Primitive Baptists—launched a determined effort to overturn what seemed a settled institution, legislative chaplains to Congress. This effort failed, but resistance to other expressions of religious control proved more successful. Temperance was one flashpoint. In addition, Sabbath controversy returned, this time around the question of Sunday travel. In Philadelphia in 1859, uproar ensued when Mayor Alexander Henry banned the city’s streetcars from running on the Sabbath.