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A Shopkeeper's Millennium: Society and Revivals in Rochester, New York, 1815-1837
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A Shopkeeper's Millennium: Society and Revivals in Rochester, New York, 1815-1837

3.52 of 5 stars 3.52  ·  rating details  ·  236 ratings  ·  17 reviews
A quarter-century after its first publication, A Shopkeeper's Millennium remains a landmark work--brilliant both as a new interpretation of the intimate connections among politics, economy, and religion during the Second Great Awakening, and as a surprising portrait of a rapidly growing frontier city. The religious revival that transformed America in the 1820s, making it t ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published June 21st 2004 by Hill and Wang (first published 1978)
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A fascinating, subtle, and immensely valuable study, but I have some important reservations from the author's conclusions. To explain, I shall have to write at length.

In A Shopkeeper's Millennium, Paul Johnson argues that American revivalism in the early nineteenth century was a product of class conflict, not (as often assumed) individual social insecurity. Evangelicalism, according to Johnson, was not primarily a means for the mobile economic individualist to find meaning in life; it was instea
Joseph Stieb
This is a heck of a book even if I can't necessarily recommend it to everyone. Not everyone is going to read about revivals in Rochester, NY, but it's really fascinating case study of the social roots of Great Awakening in a specific city. It's also a great use of structural functionalist perspective in history. Johnson isn't really that concerned with the religious views of Rochester's citizens. Rather, he looks at the function of religion in society and in class relations. His basic argument i ...more
Paul E. Johnson’s focused monograph, A Shopkeeper’s Millennium: Society and Revivals in Rochester, New York 1815-1837, tries to broadly outline some intensifiers of the Second Great Awakening in the United States—a religious revival movement that reached its apex during the 1820s and 1830s. Johnson uses Rochester as a case study to explore the success of Charles Finney’s 1831 revivals, not because it was representative of the United States but because it’s religious fervency was exceptional. Joh ...more
Dan Gorman
Johnson was part of the social history movement in the 1970s - historians thought they could use statistics, demography, and early computer technology to finally achieve truly objective history, and the profession focused on matters of politics, business, labor, population trends, etc. Johnson uses all kinds of statistical data to support his narrative of Rochester politics and religion, anti-Masonic scheming, and finally the revival of Charles Finney in Rochester. However, his data is very sele ...more
Interesting and useful case study of Rochester, NY on the link between changing social structures of the middle and working classes as influenced by the 2nd Great Awakening, temperance movement, and the rise of the market/capitalist system. Not the most gripping of narratives.
Read for a history class in school. It was pretty interesting, I never realized that temperance movements had happened so many times in this country, or that the one in the 1820s was so bound up with religious revival.
I'm not a fan of this book, though it is decent. I'm expected to write a paper based on this, perhaps that plays a role in my unlikeliness of it. Nevertheless, I find the book a bit dry and at some point confusing. My TA, who's a grad history student, loves this book and claims that this is the type of book he reads for his classes. Thus, I guess it just really depends in one's book preference, maybe even historical aspect preference.
Interesting examination of the city of Rochester from a trendy '70s quasi-Marxist perspective. Johnson contends that the Second Great Awakening religious revival in the emerging Rochester bourgeoisie helped birth the antebellum Industrial Revolution and strengthen the divide between Northern owners and workers.
Apr 03, 2011 Michelle is currently reading it
It's a history book--one I bought for a class I ended up dropping. Some of it is dry, but the conclusions he draws along the way are interesting. So far, the book focuses on what led to the Second Great Awakening in one burgeoning city that Charles Finney visited.
Jan 16, 2013 John rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2013
Solid academic book. Learned some new things about religion and society in upstate New York. As with most academic writing, the interesting bits come after he's come to his conclusions and he lets himself speculate a bit about the role of religion as a social control.
Alina Scott
I loved it! Johnson gave an interesting perspective to the second great awakening. I normally do not appreciate historical books of this nature, but it was wonderfully written and informative. I would definitely recommend this book!
The new social history at its best. But would it have killed Johnson to give some credit to the women, especially since they outnumbered/converted the men?
It was a good informational book, but I have to say I found it quite boring.
Robyn Sheppard
Dry, but factual account of Rochester's earliest religious revival.
Beautiful story of how money and church are intermingled.
Richard Berman
Aug 06, 2009 Richard Berman is currently reading it
Very refreshing story. Great characters and plot.
Brentley Campbell
Read some bits and pieces for class. A solid read
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