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Pious Ambitions: Sally Merriam Wait's Great Awakening, 1813-1831

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abstract
As the American republic took shape in the early nineteenth century, tremendous change was dawning. War with Great Britain was on the horizon. The reliable family farm economy was shifting as younger generations moved west and south to pursue new opportunities. Religious revivals inspired the newly converted to spread the gospel and educate young men for the ministry. Even as patriarchal expectations persisted, women gained incremental influence as they emulated role models who were following their higher ambitions through religion, home industry, and benevolent societies. Sarah (Sally) Merriam Wait (1794-1876), came of age during this period of religious awakening and western expansion and was impacted by the transformational forces of these times. This work follows Sally’s journey from Brandon, Vermont in April 1813, when she experienced a spiritual conversion, until May 1831, when, despite her concerns about the “ignorance and bigotry” in the state, she agreed to settle in North Carolina with Baptist minister and educator Samuel Wait. The decision, nearly twenty years in the making, was influenced by the growth of the Baptist denomination, shifts in the economy, increased political tensions, and the constraints that women experienced in actualizing their ambitions. Through a close analysis of hundreds of letters, journals, and documents, I examine the complex combination of theological, ecclesiastical, and cultural factors that led Sally Wait to North Carolina. Sally’s story provides a case study of a nineteeth-century woman’s emotional and religious journey as she negotiated the economic, political, and social changes in the Early Republic.
subject
Baptist History
North Carolina History
Sally Wait
Samuel Wait
Sarah Merriam Wait
Second Great Awakening
contributor
Tribble, Mary Carlton (author)
Ruddiman, John A. (committee chair)
Leonard, Bill J. (committee member)
date
2019-05-24T08:35:40Z (accessioned)
2019 (issued)
degree
Liberal Studies (discipline)
2024-06-01 (liftdate)
embargo
2024-06-01 (terms)
identifier
http://hdl.handle.net/10339/93934 (uri)
language
en (iso)
publisher
Wake Forest University
title
Pious Ambitions: Sally Merriam Wait's Great Awakening, 1813-1831
type
Thesis

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