Charles G. Finney and the Spirit of American Evangelicalism

Charles G. Finney and the Spirit of American Evangelicalism

by Charles Hambrick-Stowe

Charles Grandison Finney was the foremost evangelist in the pre-Civil War United States. His revivals in the cities along the Erie Canal; his well-organized campaigns in Philadelphia, New York City, Boston, and the British Isles; his prominent pastorate at New York’s British Isles; his prominent pastorate at New York’s Broadway Tabernacle; and his teaching career at Oberlin College exemplify the evangelical spirit that swept the country following the Second Great Awakening.

Stowe’s work on Charles Finney provides remarkable access into the nineteenth-century American evangelical experience.

This lively biography by historian Charles E. Hambrick-Stowe tells the story of Finney’s remarkable life and offers fresh insights into the nature of evangelicalism and the nineteenth-century American experience. By using the life of the great revivalist and educator as a window into the soul of American, Hambrick-Stowe shows in striking ways how Finney displayed the characteristic of that broader movement, many of which continue to flourish in twentieth-century religious life.

Based on a thorough reading of the Finney Papers, Finney’s writings, contemporary sources, and modern historiography, this biography exhibits scholarly depth in a popular narrative that is meant to be read and enjoyed as well as studied. A map of Finney’s evangelistic travels, portraits, and other illustrations enhance the text.


Charles Hambrick-Stowe was vice president for academic affairs, dean, and professor of Christian history at Nothern Seminary in Lombard, Illinois. He is now pastor of First Congregational Church of Ridgefield, Connecticut.

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