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Frontier Religion

A reference to the character of Christianity on the American frontier during the century of western expansion (1790-1890). Pioneer religion tended to encourage an individualistic faith, emotion-filled meetings, and democratic church government. Employing revivals and camp meetings* freely, Baptists and Methodists proved to be the most effective denominations in winning frontiersmen to the Christian faith. Baptist ministers, usually farmers during the week and preachers of the “simple gospel” on Sunday, readily identified with the homesteader; while the Methodist circuit-riding preachers with their message of free will and free grace seemed to offer the right combination of method and message for the scattered, democratically minded frontiersmen.