1771-1852. American Universalist. Born in New Hampshire, son of a Baptist minister, he at first accepted Calvinist doctrine, but under the influence of Universalist preaching and deistic writings he became a leader of the Universalist Church and was ordained in 1794. On the basis of his own independent study of Scripture he decided that it was impossible to defend the doctrines of the Trinity, the deity of Christ, human depravity, vicarious atonement, or eternal punishment on the basis of either Scripture or human reason. When Ballou arrived on the scene, most Universalists were orthodox in theology except for their belief that all men would be saved. But his extensive preaching, writing, and training of ministerial students influenced them toward Unitarianism. He edited Universalist journals and wrote hymns. Among his books are Treatise on the Atonement (1805) and Examination of the Doctrine of a Future Retribution (1834).