Brownson, Orestes Augustus

Brownson, Orestes Augustus

(ôrĕs`tēz, broun`sən), 1803–76, American author and clergyman, b. Stockbridge, Vt. Largely self-taught, he became a vigorous and influential writer on social and religious questions. He was a Presbyterian, but left that church to become first a Universalist and then a sort of freelance minister, working for such socialistic schemes as the short-lived Workingmen's Party. Later he was a Unitarian minister until in 1836 he started his own church, the Society for Christian Union and Progress. As founder and editor of the Boston Quarterly Review (1838–42) and as editor of the Democratic Review (1842–44), he condemned social inequalities. At this time he was one of the transcendentalists and was so interested in Brook FarmBrook Farm,
1841–47, an experimental farm at West Roxbury, Mass., based on cooperative living. Founded by George Ripley, a Unitarian minister, the farm was initially financed by a joint-stock company with 24 shares of stock at $500 per share.
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 as to send his son there. He entered the Roman Catholic Church in 1844, and later, as editor of the new Brownson's Quarterly Review, he was a vigorous defender of the Church. Among his books are New Views of Christianity, Society, and the Church (1836); two autobiographical novels, Charles Elwood; or, The Infidel Converted (1840) and The Convert (1857); and The American Republic (1865).

Bibliography

See biography by his son, Henry F. Brownson (3 vol., 1898–1900), who also edited his works (20 vol., 1882–87, repr. 1966), biographies by A. Schlesinger, Jr. (1939, repr. 1966) and T. Maynard (1943, repr. 1971); studies by L. Gilhooley (1980) and T. R. Ryan (1984).

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