The Kingdom of Matthias

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The book the Kingdom of Matthias can be used as a guide to get a clear view of the situation in the US-North between 1820 and 1830. The protagonist chose the characters carefully and devised a storyline that mirrored the scenario at the time. New York City has heard the news about a strange mystic cult thriving under the control of a charismatic and self-styled leader named Matthias. He is accused of taking money from his supporters and of being engaged in a lascivious sexual relationship focused on religious beliefs. Other "concepts captured in the cult_x0092_s teaching were the inferiority of women and apostolic priesthood. The prophet would, later on, be arrested for murder charges of one of the cult_x0092_s strongest follower. When this story came to the public, it revealed the form of the spiritual tension of the era.

The Analysis of the Book

Paul Johnson and Sean Wilentz recaptured this story that was almost forgotten by the people. The richness of the research in the account of events is captured in the novel_x0092_s dramatic force. A strange tale of the prophet Matthias gives a fascinating window that mirrors the turbulent movements of the religious revival which is known as the second great awakening movement. In the period between the 1820s and 1830s, the movement had swept many evangelical Americans resulting in the emergence of new sects such as the Mormons. In this setting came a man called Robert Mathews who considered himself to be the Matthias, a God_x0092_s prophet chosen from the Jewish community.

Robert had a hypnotic spell that drew in a cast of characters that were unforgettable. Elijah Pierson was a meek and devoted businessman who had made attempts to awaken his dead wife. Benjamin Folger and Ann were young and attractive Christian couple while Isabella Wagenen was an ex-slave who was shrewd who from the book_x0092_s account can be regarded as, the most wicked of the wicked. However, none of the characters would be as colorful as the prophet himself. He was a tyrant who successfully gathered the followers into a household that can be deemed as absolutist. Their resources would be used to enrich himself and to make the reordering of their marital relations to be successful. When the tensions within his influence blew out of control, he was held responsible before the law, and this became a national scandal. ""_x0085_the main protagonist in a deeply disturbing scandal. _x0093_(Johnson & Wilentz 10-11). Through the authors, the prophet_x0092_s tale was vividly brought to life. The scenes at Jonestown and Waco were now recalled by many. The authors also succeeded in bringing out a clear picture of the American_x0092_s formative period. This era had connections to the rapid economic changes, race and sex relations, politics and a wide variety of religious experience by the Americans.

Changes in Religion

The events in the book about the use of religion as a tool to acquire other ends in life depicted the behavior of some North Americans who had adopted the trend. Wild American holy men between the 1820s and 1830s resembled Matthias. This can be proven through their formation of cults that were based on the scripture_x0092_s prophecy and the same time translating their disappointments as the holy visions emanating from the restored fatherly power. The social basis of these movements has however changed over time. Those Americans caught in the bewildering times have made the interpretation of their world with reference to the alteration to family and sexual norms. Besides, it is worth noting that the Americans of that era were always willing to withdraw into forms of experimental communities for religious, industrial, intellectual or Matthias like purposes.

Role of women

The women in the book were portrayed as being alienated from their rights in the patriarchal society. This infringement was exploited by the prophet for personal gains. However, the situation had not changed in the North America between 1820 and 1830. Women were forced to be obedient to their husbands and fathers. Johnson and Wilentz pointed out that the natural and amicable timidity ought to have kept women of the spheres of the stronger sex. The church going ladies had to be in clothes that were modest and fashionable with some dressing patterns being considered as anti-Christian or preposterous (Johnson & Wilentz 29). Although the women in the early 19th century had begun to rise and fight for their freedoms, there still chained to the doctrines that were forcefully making them be subordinated. The book, therefore, gave a vivid picture of the condition in North America.

Market revolution

The Kingdom of Mathias gave also gave an account of the 19th century New Yorker who had been transformed by the Second Awakening and the Market Revolution. These two authors successfully wove Robert Mathews and Elijah Pierson with the wider tapestry of the social and economic movements. When Pierson left the traditional bound and patriarchal society in Morristown, New Jersey, he entered an alien world upon crossing the Hudson River. One, therefore, questions the factors that lead him to reject the world he had been brought up. The life in New York was totally different, and he had to adjust to making changes to his life to emerge successfully. The perceptions of an early family, and the assumptions related to the fatherly pretentions would deem him a failure, and he, therefore, had to revise the standards under which he was brought up (Johnson & Wilentz 20). Through his personal discipline, he turned out successful and had to reject the bad vices of his society earlier on. The new drives in his life were, _x0093_individual ambition, risk-taking, and the accumulation of money_x0094_ (Johnson & Wilentz 20).

Despite being successful, he felt lonely and thus immersed himself into the world of religion where he became a key influential figure and the leader of the missionary society that dealt with the poor. Through the encounters in the new location, he questioned the ideas behind God and the concept of fatherhood that been contradictory at Morristown (Johnson & Wilentz 21). The period between the 1820s and 1830s saw an economic boom as well as the advancement in technology which had an impact of the American Culture. Elijah_x0092_s story depicts the emergence of a middle class that relied on the wage earnings from the labor in factories. Despite the socioeconomic changes in the early 19th century, there were those North American that was still stuck to the traditional conservative patriarchal society that was before the era of revolution and reformation. This scenario is depicted in the book by having a section of the character marking a break away from the traditional and conservative ways that were wayward.

Works Cited

Johnson, Paul E., and Sean Wilentz. The Kingdom of Matthias: A Story of Sex and Salvation in 19th-Century America. OUP USA, 2012.


July 20, 2022

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