By Richard Quebedeaux

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Extra resources for By What Authority? The Rise of Personality Cults in American Christianity.

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The post-Civil War period has been described as the reign of the great "princes of the pulpit. " No one prior to 1 86 5 ever matched the popularity of such preachers as Henry Ward Beecher, Phillips Brooks, T. DeWitt Talmadge, and Russell Conwell. In the words of one church historian, "The nation hung on their words and doted on their persons. "11 The sermons of these men and others like them were not infrequently front-page news, and some were regularly syndicated in the national media-in their entirety.

Moody. t4 After the Civil War, accelerating urbanization and industrialization required further adaptation of Finney's city revival meeting techniques to attract and win the sprawling urban masses. Whereas h is major successes were in communities not exceeding ten thousand in popula­ tion (with 1 4, 404 inhabitants in 1 83 5, Rochester, New York, was the single exception), Dwight L. Moody ( 1 8 3 7-99) became a religious force to contend with in cities with more than a million permanent residents.

And she loved publicity. Celebrity Leaders in American Christianity: 1 86 5-1 9 60 Newspaper reporters called it "sensational" when Aimee toured the red light district in Winnipeg in order to pray with the prostitutes and distribute tracts to the madams. In 1 92 2 , she caused another sensation by going door-to-door in San Francisco's Chinatown, trying to convert these "heathen" to Christ. That year, in Oakland, California, she became the first woman to preach over the radio, a medium con­ sidered too undignified for preaching by most ministers of her day.

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