First Advisor

TJ Tomlin

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type


Date Created



Following the American Revolution, membership in Baptist churches grew exponentially and the influence of the Baptist persuasion was significant. As one of the fastest-growing Protestant denominations in early America, Baptists and their interests were often indicative of larger trends in religiosity. Conceptions of piety, including beliefs surrounding submission, faithfulness, and duty, were central to the structure of Baptist congregations and their proximate communities. This paper explores the role of gender in the discussion, presentation, and justification of Baptist notions of piety in their publications during the Early American Republic. To build on the work of historians exploring female autonomy in religious spaces, this paper will offer insights into the contrasting male perceptions of this dynamic. Through a rhetorical analysis of denominational print publications, I will identify the places where ideas of gender permeated the values of these communities as well as examine the tools used to form and disseminate gendered perceptions of piety. The Massachusetts Baptist Missionary Magazine and its equivalents in surrounding spheres will serve as my main primary source base, providing examples of published discourse that a large number of early American Baptists subscribed to. By analyzing the language used to set these standards, I will be able to highlight the congruence between Baptist values and male interests in 19th-century New England. The outcome of this was the deepening of ties between religiosity and gender structures in early America.

Abstract Format



Christian Denominations and Sects | History of Gender | History of Religion | United States History


Baptist, Early America, Piety, Missionary, Print Culture




30 pages

Rights Statement

Copyright is held by the author.