The Kingdom Of Matthias By Paul E. Johnson And Sean Wilentz

Decent Essays
The novel The Kingdom of Matthias, A Story of Sex and Salvation in 19th-Century America, written by Paul E. Johnson and Sean Wilentz. This book is filled with many controversial themes that relate to the culture during the Jackson Era, such as religion, economy, and gender roles. The book depicts women as inferior towards men, and keeps men at the top of the hierarchy. The main character Robert Matthews (Matthias) was born in a small farming village in 1788. Matthias grew up in a very strict religious based society. Men held all authority in their community as well as the church. Women in this patriarchy society had one job and that was to take care of the household. Including; cooking and preparing meals, nurturing and raising…show more content…
Men however are the leader, and authority to everything. Women had little to no rights in this strict Scottish Calvinist community. The book depicts the role of a “father” “As a patriarch he was responsible for the well-being and behavior of everyone in his household; as a neighbor, church officer, and member of a thick and busy network of kin he extended those responsibilities beyond his domestic circle”(Johnson/Wilentz16). Men believed only they were chosen to be the spiritual leaders in society, that was just how they were raised. “One saint wrote, that each father’s charges would be “more observant of his commands” At the Lord’s Supper, the presiding ministers and elders, who controlled admission to the sacrament, were always men; their constant invocations of how the saints had gathered at the Father’s table to hear the Father’s testament ratified on a public stage the domestic presumptions of paternal authority.” (Johnson/Wilentz55). Matthias definitely felt that it was his role to be the leader of his family and often times took it to extremes with his own family. Matthias had a lot of stress in life he owned his own store and almost went bankrupt. As well as many of his sons died. All this stress caused him to lash out to his wife Margaret. His wife said “His bad moods returned more and more frequent now, and in form of headaches, violent fits, and sudden rages.”(Johnson/Wilentz62). Margaret also said that Matthews “would
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