This is a book about Methodists in Indiana between 1880 and 1930, searching for the larger transformation of American culture, particularly the development of a new nexus of institutions that would become known as the social mainstream. Corn shows how forces of upward social mobility, evangelistic religion, and optimism for progress converged in these Midwestern Methodists with darker forces such as racism, nativism, and a grim commitment to the use of legal coercion. The result was that Methodism stopped being a religious movement aimed at the mass of Americans and ended up becoming one moulded to the sensibilities of America's new managerial middle class. It is in this transformation that contemporary Methodism has its deepest roots.
Kevin J. Corn is a historian of American religious movements teaching in the department of Philosophy and Religion at the University of Indianapolis. He has a B.A. from Earlham College and an M.A. in History from Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis. His academic publications include works on Methodism, philanthropy, and teaching. He is currently working on a dissertation on religion and war for Indiana University's doctoral program in the study of religion.