A brief overview of Henry Ward Beecher.

Essay by imaGe November 2005

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Harriet Ward Beecher was born on June 24, 1813 in Litchfield, Connecticut and he was the eighth child of the thirteen children in his family. His father, Lyman Beecher was a prominent Congregationalist minister and educator, and his sister, Harriet Beecher Stowe, who was a prominent figure during Lincoln's presidency and is the author of Uncle Tom's Cabin.

In 1830, Henry Ward Beecher had entered Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts. He had input more effort and was more active in his own courses and studies of reading rather than his college studies. He practiced elocution or the perfected art of public speaking, everyday and became an excellent speaker with the absence of notes. After four years, he graduated from college and attended Lane Theological Seminary in Cincinnati, Ohio. Coincidentally, his father was the president at Lane Theological Seminary where Beecher studied.

In 1837, he was called to a Presbyterian ministry at Lawrenceburg, Indiana, a village about 20 miles below Cincinnati.

Only here did he began to develop his extraordinary preaching techniques in addition to his already remarkable elocution skills. In the village, he spoke to members of the church, which consisted of nineteen women and one man. From 1839 to 1847, he ministered in Indianapolis. He filled the church with vast amount of people, including ones that does not attend to church regularly. Ward then produced and published a pamphlet labeled Seven Lectures of Young Men.

In 1847, he was asked to be a pastor of a Congregational Church, called Plymouth Church in Brooklyn, New York. Within a relatively small time frame, the newly organized church became increasingly popular to the general public. From his earliest sermons, Beecher announced and clarified the bases in his ministry of the most debated issue of the time, slavery. Beecher felt a strong...