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Commentary on Horace Bushnell’s Address, Ohio Observer, August 18, 1842.
Horace Bushnell Papers. Manuscripts & Archives, Yale University.

Michael Pomeranz ’09, On the University Chaplaincy

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The Congregationalist preacher Horace Bushnell graduated from Yale in 1827. His Christian Nurture, a book outlining how a child might be brought up as a Christian so as to require neither Anglican or Baptist baptism nor revivalist conversion, made him famous and, in theologically conservative circles, infamous: fellow ministers brought him to a church trial for heresy. Bushnell also was a sought-after lecturer on public affairs. This piece recounts a speech Bushnell gave at a college in Ohio defending spiritualism against materialism. The academic address held clear social and political implications: if spiritualism could be defended against materialism, then so could Christianity against atheism. This was not Bushnell's only publicly minded statement: an enthusiastic participant who organized electoral support for the first public park in Hartford, Bushnell addressed dozens of audiences on topics ranging from the nature of religion in frontier society to the role of common schools in a community of many religious traditions.