Timeline of Classical American
1742 - Charles Chauncy writes Enthusiasm Described and
Cautioned Against as a polemic against the Great
1748 - Jonathan Mayhew delivers his Seven Sermons
(published 1750), in which he argues that all have the right to make private
judgments in religious matters and the duty to do so.
1750 - Ebenezer Gay assumes leadership of the Hingham
Association, a group of ministers in southern Massachusetts
who committed themselves to the fight for freedom from bondage
to unreasonable doctrines.
1753 - Mayhew begins teaching the strict unity of God from
the pulpit of the West Church in Boston.
1755 - Mayhew publishes 14 more sermons in his book, Sermons.
He critiques the Calvinist views of predestination,
justification by faith alone, and original sin.
1759 - Ebenezer Gay delivers the Dudleian Lecture at
Harvard, Natural Religion as
Distinguished from Revealed, wherein he argues
that revelation can teach nothing contrary to natural religion
or to the dictates of reason.
1784 - Charles Chauncy publishes treatise on universal
salvation, The Mystery Hid From Ages and Generations.
1785 - King's Chapel in Boston,
formerly Episcopalian, ordains Unitarian James Freeman,
removes references to Trinity in prayer book.
1794 - English Unitarian Joseph
Priestly arrives in America and helps establish churches in
1805 - Unitarian Henry Ware is
elected Hollis Professor of Divinity at Harvard.
1813 - Unitarian Andrews Norton assumes
Harvard's Dexter Lectureship in Biblical Criticism.
1819 - William Ellery Channing
delivers famous sermon, Unitarian Christianity.
1820 - Berry Street Conference
1825 - American Unitarian
1826 - Divinity Hall at Harvard is
completed; Joseph Tuckerman is made minister at large in
1831 - Henry Ware, Jr. publishes On
the Formation of the Christian Character.
1833 - End of the Congregational
Church in Massachusetts; Unitarianism is now the dominant
religion in the state. Andrews
Norton publishes A Statement of Reasons for Not Believing
the Doctrines of Trinitarians.
1836 - Ralph Waldo Emerson
publishes his essay, Nature. Transcendentalist movement
within Unitarianism begins.
1838 - Emerson delivers his famous
Divinity School Address at Harvard, criticizing mainstream
1839 - Andrews Norton responds to
Transcendentalism with his discourse, The Latest
Form of Infidelity. A critique of Norton's discourse by
George Ripley spawns a debate and a series of tracts from both
1841 - Transcendentalist Unitarian Theodore Parker delivers famous sermon, The
Transient and the Permanent in Christianity.
1842 - Parker publishes A Discourse of Matters
Pertaining to Religion.
1844 - Harm Jan Huidekoper founds Meadville Theological
1852 - Western Unitarian Conference formed.
1853 - AUA affirms Christian identity.
1854 - WUC affirms Christian identity.
1859 - Henry Whitney
Bellows delivers sermon, The Suspense of Faith.
1860 - Thomas Starr King goes to San Francisco.
1865 - Formation of National Conference of Unitarian
Churches, which affirms Christian identity; Frederic Henry
Hedge publishes Reason in Religion.
1867 - Free Religious Association founded by Unitarians
unhappy with the Christian focus of Unitarianism.
1873 - Free Religionist Octavius Brooks Frothingham publishes The
Religion of Humanity.
1886 - Unity movement in the WUC
motivates Jabez T. Sunderland to publish The Issue in the West;
James Freeman Clarke
publishes Vexed Questions in Theology.
1887 - William
Channing Gannett's The Things Most Commonly Believed Today
Among Us is adopted by the Western Unitarian Conference,
which allows for non-Christian beliefs.
- National Conference meets and asserts the importance of love
for God and humanity, but without a Christian focus.