QPIMONS & VlKVVS TnThe Enemy Up ClosenMilton Rugoff: The Beechers: an AmericannFamily in the Nineteenth Century;nHarper & Row; New York.nby Clyde WilsonnAmerican Protestantism divides intontwo distinct cultural traditions datingnback to colonial times. One tradition derivesnfrom New England and is Calvinistnin origin; the other is Southern and Anglican.nAnglican must be understoodnhere as referring to a spirit rather than anstructure, the structure having beennlargely dissolved by the American frontier.nThis dichotomy has gone largely unnoticednfor several reasons. For onenthing, it does not follow denominationalnlines. Also, though the latter traditionnmay include more adherents, the formernhas had better publicity, greater prestige,nmore get-up-and-go. Many Americansnscarcely know that the second traditionnexists and think that the first is AmericannProtestantism. The New England traditionnis Puritan, that is, disciplined, communalnand concerned with the “purification”nof the community. It is parent tonthe American civil religion, a fact easilyndemonstrated by the allusions in Presidentialninaugural addresses to America asn”a city upon a hill.”nThe Southern tradition is largely folkishnand focuses upon the individual andnthe state of his soul. It goes quietiy aboutnits work and is forebearing toward thenmote in its neighbor’s eye. Its evidences,nbeing largely manifested in private lifenand often among people beneath thennotice of intellectuals, are seldom recordednby either contemporary observersnor historians. Because of the ignorance ofnthe intellectuals, its presence and significancenhave been greatly underestimatednin American history.nDr. Wilson is professor of history at thenUniversity of South Carolina and associateneditor o/The Southern Partisan.n6nChronicles of CulturenOne can grasp the distinction betweennthese two varieties of Protestantism bynimagining two different churches on thensame Sunday morning. One church is innMassachusetts, say, or Michigan. Thenpreacher sermonizes on “World Peace”nand the congregation sings “The BattlenHymn of the Republic.” The othernchurch is in rural North Carolina, or perhapsnOklahoma, or a blue-collar sectionnof Los Angeles. The sermon is on “Salvation”nand the hymn is “In the Sweet Byenand Bye.”nThere is no question that the firstnchurch represents far more worldlynpower and prestige than the other, sonmuch so that even late-comers to thesenshores often imitate it, unconsciouslynrecognizing that assimilation to the NewnEngland model is the most respectablenform of Americanization. One can findnAmerican nuns whose rhetoric and politicalnactivism resemble New EnglandnUnitarianism more closely than anythingnin European Catholicism. Martin LuthernKing, a man raised in the second tradition,nbecame, almost instantaneously, anpower in the land when he shrewdly resortednto New England-style rhetoric.nTo distinguish these two traditionsnfurther, one need only consider twonmanifestations of the divergent traditionsnin human behavior. As a demonstrationnof the Anglican tradition let’sntake General Lee, who reconciled thenduties of a soldier with unostentatiousnnnfaith and piety as successfully as is possiblenin an imperfect world, so successfullynthat he provided a model for millions ofnwhat used to be known as “Christianngentlemen.” General Lee understoodnChristianity as an imperative struggle fornpersonal virtue, its social relevance beingnthat a virtuous man is always valuable tonhis fellows. For the contrasting example,none can find no better than Henry WardnBeecher, General Lee’s contemporarynand the most famous reforming preachernof his generation. Beecher understoodnthe imperative of Christianity as one ofnsocial improvement, and personal virtuenas consisting largely of being on the rightnpolitical side.nMilton Rugoff’s thorough and intimatenhistory of three generations ofnBeechers is an admiring but candid accountnof a brilliant, energetic and forcefulnfamily. His treatment of the Beechersnshows the transformation of Americannsociety in the 19th century from Puritanismnto Victorianism. Rugoff’s book alsonoffers a close-up view of the first of thentwo Protestant traditions and of how itnwas transformed, by virtue of the CivilnWar, from a peculiarity of New Englandninto the American tradition. The intellectual,nspiritual, and public careers ofnthe Beechers exemplify that merging ofndemocracy and purification ritual thatnhas provided the predominant tone ofnAmerican politics right down to the ptes-n