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William P. Fife, The Drummer Evangelist: Class And The Protestant Ethic In The Nineteenth Century South

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Chapter Summary

In the winter of 1892, the eastern North Carolina town of Tarboro was set upon by the renowned William P. Fife, the Drummer Evangelist. This chapter explores what these two termsdrummer and aristocratmeant for Fife, his public detractors, and his audiencethose who attended his revivals and those who read about them in the newspaper reports that blanketed North Carolina and other southern places he visited. Evangelicalism powerfully shaped the basic cluster of religious, social, and political knee-jerk reactions pervasive in the South. The chapter employs that term as both a shorthand way to describe the prevailing southern religious sentiment and as a way to recognize its power in shaping southern culture. It focuses on white southerners, even though conceptions of class and religious beliefs were shaped in the South by the dynamics of race.

Keywords: aristocrat; Drummer Evangelist; North Carolina; southerners; William P. Fife



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