Page 14 - History of UB Church by A. Funkhouser Ver 1
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CHAPTER IV

GERMAN IMMIGRATION IN THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY

The well informed American knows that the United States is a nation of 48 states and more
than 100,000,000 people. In some particular respects it is outranked, here by one country and
there by another. Yet the substantial fact remains that in a massing of the fundamental features of
national greatness, the American Republic stands first in what was styled, until 1914, the
sisterhood of nations. In 1783 it was neither populous nor rich. To-day it is the wealthiest country
on the face of the globe, the richest in natural resources, and the strongest in physical might.

It requires no far-reaching examination of the census returns to learn that among the
Protestant bodies the Methodists and Baptists are easily in the lead. Next, but at some distance,
follow the Presbyterians, Lutherans, Episcopalians, Christians, and Congregationalists. The
denominations that are still smaller are more numerous, and it is among these that the one known
as the United Brethren in Christ is classified. Yet it must be remembered that the larger
communions, and many of the smaller as well, are made up of aggregations independent of one
another. The census of 1890 enumerates 141 distinct religious organizations. Yet not one of the
number is supported by the general government or by the government of any state.

A rapid survey of the America of 1752 will be of much interest. It was in that year that William
Otterbein came to America after spending nearly four months in crossing the Atlantic on a sailing
vessel.

There was not yet any political bond between the thirteen colonies that were to become the first
members of the Federal Union. They were still a part of the British realm, and prospectively the

most important part. The million and a half of inhabitants,—less than the present population of the

little state of Maryland,—were scattered a thousand miles along the Atlantic coast. There were very
few indeed who lived more than seventy miles inland from the very shore itself. Only a few
thousands were in the recently settled country west of the Blue Ridge. Philadelphia, Boston, and
New York were the largest cities, and not one of the three was much more populous than Staunton,
Va., is now. America was mainly an agricultural land. There was an active commerce by sea, but no
industrial establishments which now would be considered worthy of any mention. There were only
five colleges, and except in the New England section there were no free schools. In the other
colonies schooling was looked upon as a private interest, to be purchased and paid for like a suit of
clothes. America was a new country and in a general sense it was crude. Yet it was a prosperous
land. Furthermore, the Americans already regarded themselves as a people distinct from any other.
They had a higher level of intelligence than was true of England, and they had a higher sense of
civic spirit than the inhabitants of the British Isles. They were proud of their local institutions,
jealous of their political rights, and were convinced that the future held much in store for them.

But there was no multiplicity of religious denominations in 1752. Religion was free only in
Rhode Island and Pennsylvania. The first of these colonies was founded by Baptists and the second
by Quakers. Elsewhere the European practice prevailed and there was a state church, supported by
public taxation. To a certain extent all adults were expected to attend its services. In two of the
four New England colonies the state church was the Congregational, which under the name of
Independent, ranked as the establishment in England during Cromwell's rule. In nine of the
colonies the Church of England was in power, the same as in England itself. When the Hollanders
founded New York they introduced their own national church, the Dutch Reformed, and it is in New
York that this denomination has its chief foothold in America to-day.

The Presbyterian was the state church of Scotland, and the very heavy Scotch-Irish
immigration, beginning in earnest about 1725, gave that sect a very strong following, particularly
all along the inland frontier. The half-century, 1725-1775, witnessed a very large German inflow. In
this way the Lutheran, the state church of the Protestant German monarchies, appeared in the
Middle Colonies and in Maryland and Virginia. Nearly all this German element was from the upper
valley of the Rhine, especially Switzerland and the Palatinate. And since the German Reformed
Church was well represented in this very region, that denomination also came to America. Still
other Germans were Moravians or were Mennonites of various branches.

Chapter IV 14 German Immigration in the 18th
Century
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