Made In America
While citizens of these United States like to think of “Made in America” as a uniformly positive thing, this issue of Leben should give pause to even the most credulous among us. While the temperance debate is ages old, nowhere did that debate produce such singularly odd protagonists as in the United States. We begin with the simple task of telling Carry Nation’s story, but as with most such tasks, one story led to another.
One of the most fascinating stories is the extremely close relationship that later developed between the Women’s Christian Temperance Union and the Nineteenth Century reincarnation of the Ku Klux Klan. The only more surprising fact to us than the support of the Klan for the temperance movement, was the Klan’s support for the women’s suffrage movement. The nascent Klan grew so powerful that at one time one in four adult males in Indiana were said to be members, surpassing the membership totals of the state’s largest denominations.
While we’re musing about these homegrown movements, we would be remiss not to mention “Joe’s Story,” a remarkable tale of frontier religion writ largely in the ashes of the Second Great Awakening. Joe’s story (told mostly in his own words) begins so much like a testimony on a televangelist’s broadcast that you may not, at first, discern just exactly how and why fuzzy theology grows such bumper crops of sectarian weeds.
So much of the salvation imagery in our hymns involves shipwrecks and rescue, that we thought the 100th Anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic would be a good time to remember the life and witness of John Harper. And lest we become too parochial in focusing on our American saints and scoundrels, Simonetta Carr tells us the story of Giulia Gonzaga, a young Italian woman who became an ardent supporter of the Reformation. (She was also, coincidentally, so beautiful that a band of Turkish pirates attacked her castle in an attempt to kidnap her as a present for their leader, the Regent of Algiers.)
This issue did not start out to be nearly as eclectic as it has become, but we trust we have followed the threads of history faithfully. As always, we appreciate hearing your comments and suggestions.
On the Cover
Carry Nation and Her Hatchet by Abbie Adams, 2012. Abbie Adams is a recent high school graduate living in Citrus Heights, California. She has had a love of art throughout her childhood but has only just recently shown an interest in portrait artwork. Besides drawing portraits,
Abbie focuses her efforts on watercolor paintings. In her free time, besides drawing and painting, she enjoys running and swimming. She will be continuing on to Sierra College in Rocklin and Sacramento State in the fall to major in Criminal Justice.
The July-September 2012 issue includes these articles:
- Carry Nation and the American Temperance Movement
- KKK and the WCTU: Partners in Prohibition
- The Klan in Black and White
- Joe’s Story
- Aboard the Titanic
- Giulia Gonzaga: Behind the Italian Reformation