Paul E. Johnson’s classic, A Shopkeeper’s Millennium: Society and Revivals in Rochester, New York, 1815-1837, describes the city of Rochester, New York on the cusp of Charles Finney’s revival. Johnson sets out to “trace the social origins of revival religion”, by considering all levels of the Rochester society, including economy, domestic life and politics, the audience sees how the city functions in the face of modernization and social change (12). Toward the end of his text, Johnson depicts the revival itself and all the change it brought to Rochester. One particular consequence, as Johnson states, is the establishment of Evangelicalism in American societal structure and the eventual development of the Whig party. Johnson concludes
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No convert, man or women, was left without the urgent cause of bringing about the Millennium: all were now evangelists (100). So the wealthy, populating a majority of the Protestants, forgetting old divisions, bonded together under a “banner of proscription”, it was these men and women’s jobs to save the lost and bring about the coming Millennium (134). After the workmen revivals Johnson states that these wealthy men now had a “constituency” able to support their growing power (134). Matters of great concern such as drinking and abuse of the Sabbath became social issues and then eventually political issues. Protestants began to hold power in the government of Rochester, great power, and felt it was their duty to help and change the lives of the lost, to protect the good of the other (118). What the Protestants deemed as a moral issue required immediate change, whether that came in personal or political influence. The lost or the other in Rochester became the workmen; those traditionally outside the everyday norm and untouched by the revival (134). These men would stand in opposition to the mounting Protestant moral force.
The workmen in Rochester were always a mobile section of Rochester society. After the revival Johnson shows that the workmen struggled to find their place in the town. Those who were not in Church had trouble obtaining jobs, those who drank, once a common pastime, now were unwanted by