Essay about Kingdom of Matthias by Paul E Johnson and Sean Wilentz

Essay about Kingdom of Matthias by Paul E Johnson and Sean Wilentz

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The Kingdom of Matthias by Paul E. Johnson and Sean Wilentz is a story of the rise and fall of a religious cult established by Robert Matthews (Matthias). Within his kingdom, Matthias and his followers, abided by Matthias, believes of the subjugation of women by men. Even though at the time the cult was in existence the United States was experiencing two great movements that urged the forward progression of women, the Market Revolution and the Second Great Awakening. Two women in particular are mentioned in Johnson and Wilentz’ book that were really suppressed by Matthias and his subjects. One was Isabella van Wagenen, the slave that worked in Mount Zion and even Matthias’ own daughter Isabella Matthews Laisdell. The Kingdom of Matthias reveals the 19th century experienced the presence of an oppressive “prophet” known as Matthias who tyrannically degraded women through cruel treatment, sexual advances, and belittling them in a society that was starting to notice the inclination of women’s rights, all of these violent and atrocious acts eventually lead to the downfall of Matthias’ kingdom.
The life style of a woman’s role in society was to take care of the house while the husband went off to work and to make the life of the husband easier whenever the husband was home. Although during the Nineteenth Century we start to see a movement towards women’s rights. During the Second Great Awakening women were given a more important role in activities such as religion. Women could be sent out regularly on mission trips, or even to preach in churches. This being said was one thing in particular Matthias was trying to prevent. Matthias went so far to prevent women preaching in the church that he was kicked out of one of the churches that ...


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...s would act upon women in many different ways from beating them or with sexual activities on a regular basis. These acts of misogyny, trying to keep them only doing household chores while verbally degrading them could be known as just a small bump in the progression towards women’s rights and could be a lead example on why women should have rights. Matthias was however able to make his followers believe in his religion and grasp the beliefs and to go against the progression of women’s rights. The ‘kingdom’ eventually fell because the way society was growing during the Second Great Awakening and the Market Revolution; it gave women the chance to have power to incorporate them into society respectively.



Works Cited

The Kingdom of Matthias: A Story of Sex and Salvation in 19th-Century America- Paul E. Johnson & Sean Wilentz
Give Me Liberty 3rd Edition – Eric Foner.

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