Allowed to speak, difficult to ignore: Methodist women shape the religious and political identity of Kansas through the Temperance Movement

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Burnidge, Cara
Washburn University
Issue Date
May 2006
Alternative Title
When considering the history of Kansas the relationship between religion and politics is the crucial element required to understand Kansans. An examination of the major political and social issues throughout Kansas history will lead to a study of Kansas religious groups, particularly evangelical Protestants. Overwhelmingly, evangelical Protestants in Kansas have taken part in every great political, social, and religious reform the state has experienced. This activism by Kansas evangelical Protestants complicates the relationship between religion and politics. In the most recent examination of religion in Kansas, historian Gary Entz partially answered journalist Thomas Frank's question, "What's the Matter with Kansas?" Examining Kansas' history of the church influencing the state, Entz explained that one of the most significant intersections of religion and politics in Kansas occurred during the Temperance Movement. What Entz failed to mention, however, was the significant role women played within this religious, political, and social movement. This failure to fully acknowledge the significance of women's involvement in the Kansas Temperance Movement marks a historical void for Kansas history. The study of women in Kansas' Temperance Movement will lead to a better understanding of Kansas religious history and, ultimately, the relationship between religion and politics in Kansas.