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Lyman Beecher (1775-1863)

Background and Early Life

Lyman Beecher was born on October 12, 1775 in New Haven , Connecticut. Beecher's father was a
blacksmith and he grew up on a farm. In 1799 he was ordained in a Presbyterian church. He was a clergyman who attended Yale, and graduated in 1797. The president, Timothy Dwight, at Yale influenced his views and religious beliefs greatly. Timothy also sparked his interest in revivalism. He married Roxane Foote in 1799 and they had thirteen kids. His writings include Collected Works and Autobiography and Correspondence.

“No great advance has been made in science, politics, or religion without controversy.”
-Lyman Beecher
His religious career started in Long Island. He gained a lot of recognition in 1806, after preaching about a clash between Hamilton and Burr. In 1810 Lyman moved to Litchfield, Connecticut, and started preaching Calvinism. Later he began to preach against Unitarianism, which was becoming very popular at the time. Lyman believed that Unitarianism was evil and wanted to stop it. In 1816 Lyman helped found the American Bible Society. Then Beecher became the paster of the Second Presbyterian Church of Cincinnati in 1832. He also became the first president of the Lane Theological Seminary. At Lane he trained new ministers to bring the W
est to Protestantism. He became well known for his sermons preaching against the evils of alcohol and slavery. He was attending the school at a time when issues were becoming dangerously close to dividing the church. The students at Lane debated the issue of slavery for 18 consecutive nights. Many of the people at Lane had problems with his beliefs and views. He was charged by the church for heresy and hypocrisy in 1835, but both of the charges were acquitted. After a while he got tired of arguing and left the school. He retired to Brooklyn, New York and stayed with his son. He spent the end of his life with his children until 1863 when he passed away.
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"Never chase a lie. Let it alone, and it will run itself to death."-Lyman Beecher

Lasting Impact on History
Lyman Beecher was an important preacher, theologian, and educator in the West. His sermons inspired many people to change to Protestantism. His discussions of abolitionism and slavery at Lane Theological Seminary sparked the debate around the country, the debate that contributed to the start of the Civil War. Beecher proposed to have new degrees of evangelism that clashed with the traditional Calvinism. His workings were against the practice of the evangelist,
Charles Finney. This caused the churches all over the country to be plunged into confusion, until his fellow paster convicted him of heresy. Beecher helped to teach new pastors to
preach Protestantism to the West. Lyman was the chief architect of America's voluntary establishment of religion, and a great proponent of moral reform.

“We may form free constitutions, but our vices will destroy them; we may enact laws, but they will not protect us.”
-Lyman Beecher

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