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Calvinism Reconsidered

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Chapter Summary

A fuller sociological reconsideration of Calvinism is to better understand Tocqueville's Puritan "destiny" of America. Calvinism originated as French Protestantism or France's Reformation. Puritanism originated, functioned, and remained through its various survivals and revivals as English-American Calvinism. Calvinism ultimately failed as the putative "Second", definitive Protestant Reformation or "truly" Reformed Church in Germany. Calvinists were in the long run even more successful and triumphant, a sort of "over-achievers", in America than in England, let alone France, Germany, and Europe overall. Weber emphasizes that Calvinism, including Puritanism, originated and operated as orthodox or ascetic Protestantism. Calvinism was strident anti- and pre-liberalism, including anti-secularism, anti-pluralism, and anti-humanism. Calvinism and hence Puritanism is extreme, radical, including militant or violent. Calvinism is disciplinarian and repressive Protestantism, distinguished from and opposed to its non-disciplinarian, non-repressive, and liberal versions like, in Weber's and other sociological accounts, Lutheranism, Anglicanism.

Keywords: America; Anglicanism; Calvinism; France; Germany; Lutheranism; Protestantism; Puritanism; Tocqueville; Weber



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