John Buehrens

Tuesday, September 15, 2020 at 7 p.m. John Buehrens, Past President (1993-2001) of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations. Conflagration: How the Transcendentalists Sparked the American Struggle for Racial, Gender, and Social Justice.

 

A dramatic retelling of the story of the Transcendentalists, revealing them not as isolated authors but as a community of social activists who shaped progressive American values. Conflagration illuminates the connections between key members of the Transcendentalist circle–including James Freeman Clarke, Elizabeth Peabody, Caroline Healey Dall, Elizabeth Stanton, Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Theodore Parker, and Margaret Fuller–who created a community dedicated to radical social activism. These authors and activists laid the groundwork for democratic and progressive religion in America.

 

In the tumultuous decades before and immediately after the Civil War, the Transcendentalists changed nineteenth-century America, leading what Theodore Parker called “a Second American Revolution.” They instigated lasting change in American society, not only through their literary achievements but also through their activism: transcendentalists fought for the abolition of slavery, democratically governed churches, equal rights for women, and against the dehumanizing effects of brutal economic competition and growing social inequality.

 

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