In the Kingdom of Matthias told by Paul E. Johnson and Sean Wilentz, tells a story of a peculiar religious sect, but changed the American society and culture. The story brings rise to changes in economy, sex, politics, religion and race and also the beginning of the Protestant revival known as the Second Great Awakening. Through the story of Matthias and Elijah Pierson, there were many changes in society but a main change was the gender roles. Matthias created his Kingdom during the time period where women had little to no rights, and he carried out this belief through force. From two extremists, a scandalous Kingdom and an ex-slave turned abolitionist leader, gender roles in the early 1800s were very distinct.
Matthias grew up in a household where some beliefs were certain beliefs mattered more than others. This prompted him to grow into individuals with very strong and aggrieve patriots. The time period and society he grew up in encouraged men to be more powerful over women. Women were supposed to abide by any rules the man set forth.
Matthias enforced this belief in his home by abusing his wife to make her fear him. But his wife, Margaret, was tough and didn’t believe her husband was any more powerful than she was. These actions caused Matthias to despite women, which grew more and more as he became older. Once he created his Kingdom later in his life, he made clear his feelings toward women in that they were nothing better than maids and sexual subjects to men. He forced strict rules on women that they were only to cook, clean and take care of the family while the man went out and did the “important work”.
Elijah Pierson grew up very similar to Matthias but was not as devoted to his beliefs as Matthias was. Upon his move to New York he quickly became entrenched into the “perfectionist” movement and married a women named Sarah who was a missionary. Together they created a society to try and spread the word of God and also helped prostitutes. But after Sarah’s death, Elijah went insane and tried to bring Sarah back from the dead during her funeral. After Elijah’s scene at the funeral, he met Matthias and most of his beliefs had changed. Before Elijah met Matthias, he was a very spiritual man and believed in marriage. But once he was a follower of Matthias, he too believed that women were subject to men and men were superior to women in every way.
Once Matthias and Elijah met, Matthias used Elijah’s wealth and beliefs to create his own kingdom, known as The Kingdom of Matthias. Once Matthias obtained followers, he created his kingdom, which was located in a mansion on Mount Zion. Since Matthias’s hatred of women grew tremendously from his marriage, he created strict laws for women. He not only focused on the punishment and abuse of women, but he also punished men he believed drew attention to themselves by during outrageous things. But a major action he enforced was “wife-swapping” and appointing women to sleep with certain men.