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The Last PuritansMainline Protestants and the Power of the Past$
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Margaret Bendroth

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781469624006

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469624006.001.0001

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History and the Politics of Merger

History and the Politics of Merger

(p.153) Chapter Eight History and the Politics of Merger
The Last Puritans

Margaret Bendroth

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter examines denominational politics in the context of the disputes over the Council for Social Action, which was now growing into a full-scale libertarian protest against ecumenism, before turning to the merger itself and its immediate aftermath. This is a narrow angle of analysis, with relatively fleeting glances at major historical events and social trends of the 1940s and 1950s. It deals with old fights, semiobscure people, and bureaucratic structures whose value might be lost on outsiders without a stake in the outcome—though the details will be of some use to the discussion. In particular, the analysis shows an arena where the hopes and fears of laypeople met the concerns of leaders and thinkers; it is also a scale for understanding the sharp inward turn of a broad and long-standing conversation and the contentious and painful role of history and tradition in the mid-twentieth century.

Keywords:   1940s, 1950s, denominational politics, Council for Social Action, merger, mid-twentieth century

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