Henry Ward Beecher biography

Henry Ward Beecher

Preacher, Author

1813 – 1887


Who was Henry Ward Beecher?

Henry Ward Beecher was an American Congregationalist clergyman, social reformer, and speaker, known for his support of the abolition of slavery, his emphasis on God's love, and his 1875 adultery trial.

Henry Ward Beecher was the son of Lyman Beecher, a Calvinist minister who became one of the best-known evangelists of his age. Several of his brothers and sisters became well-known educators and activists, most notably Harriet Beecher Stowe, who achieved worldwide fame with her abolitionist novel Uncle Tom's Cabin. Henry Ward Beecher graduated from Amherst College in 1834 and Lane Theological Seminary in 1837 before serving as a minister in Lawrenceburg, Indiana and Indianapolis, Indiana.

In 1847, Beecher became the first pastor of the Plymouth Church in Brooklyn, New York. He soon acquired fame on the lecture circuit for his novel oratorical style, in which he employed humor, dialect, and slang. Over the course of his ministry, Beecher developed a theology emphasizing God's love above all else, a contradiction of his father's stern Calvinism. He also grew interested in social reform, particularly the abolitionist movement. In the years leading up to the Civil War, he raised money to purchase slaves from captivity and to send rifles—nicknamed "Beecher's Bibles"—to abolitionists fighting in Kansas and Nebraska. He toured Europe during the Civil War speaking in support of the Union.

Famous Quotes:

  • We sleep, but the loom of life never stops, and the pattern which was weaving when the sun went down is weaving when it comes up in the morning.
  • Nothing dies so hard, or rallies so often as intolerance.
  • To array a man's will against his sickness is the supreme art of medicine.
  • Genius unexerted is no more genius than a bushel of acorns is a forest of oaks.
  • Well married a person has wings, poorly married shackles.
  • Laughter is day, and sobriety is night; a smile is the twilight that hovers gently between both, more bewitching than either.
  • Good nature is worth more than knowledge, more than money, more than honor, to the persons who possess it.
  • The worst thing in the world next to anarchy, is government.
  • Never forget what a person says to you when they are angry.
  • Clothes and manners do not make the man; but when he is made, they greatly improve his appearance

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Jun 24, 1813
  • United States of America
  • Amherst College
  • Lane Theological Seminary
Mar 8, 1887

on July 23, 2013


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