Kingdom Of Matthias By Paul E Johnson And Sean Wilentz

1162 words - 5 pages

The Kingdom of Matthias by Paul E. Johnson and Sean Wilentz is a story of the rise and fall of a religious cult established by Robert Matthews (Matthias). Within his kingdom, Matthias and his followers, abided by Matthias, believes of the subjugation of women by men. Even though at the time the cult was in existence the United States was experiencing two great movements that urged the forward progression of women, the Market Revolution and the Second Great Awakening. Two women in particular are mentioned in Johnson and Wilentz’ book that were really suppressed by Matthias and his subjects. One was Isabella van Wagenen, the slave that worked in Mount Zion and even Matthias’ own daughter Isabella Matthews Laisdell. The Kingdom of Matthias reveals the 19th century experienced the presence of an oppressive “prophet” known as Matthias who tyrannically degraded women through cruel treatment, sexual advances, and belittling them in a society that was starting to notice the inclination of women’s rights, all of these violent and atrocious acts eventually lead to the downfall of Matthias’ kingdom.
The life style of a woman’s role in society was to take care of the house while the husband went off to work and to make the life of the husband easier whenever the husband was home. Although during the Nineteenth Century we start to see a movement towards women’s rights. During the Second Great Awakening women were given a more important role in activities such as religion. Women could be sent out regularly on mission trips, or even to preach in churches. This being said was one thing in particular Matthias was trying to prevent. Matthias went so far to prevent women preaching in the church that he was kicked out of one of the churches that preached for women to be more involved in churches, moreover this could quiet possibly be a benefactor of Matthias’ reason to show his dominance over women. In early New England textile mills, women and child labor contributed a huge effort to the production of textiles (Foner, The “Mill” Girls 264.). Accepting women in the work place was a huge breakthrough in the progression of women’s rights. In The kingdom Of Matthias, Matthias reacted to how women are getting the rights to work as to give them tasks in the household limiting them still. Matthias believed women should only do what they are permitted to do by their husbands.
In essence, Matthias was an infamous misogynous. Matthias was a religious man as he moved from one denomination to the next, however with this being said it showed no effect on how he treated women. “Degenerated into a nightmare of wife-beating and child abuse.”(Johnson and Wilentz) These “nightmares” changed his attitude in his adult life into the way he ruled his kingdom. In one of his sermons Matthias said that “Women is the cap sheaf of abomination of desolation – full of deviltry”, and “All women are not obedient, had better become so soon as possible, and let the wicked spirit depart, and...

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