This study presents a micro-history of the religious ideas of a weekly radical newspaper entitled The Rebel. At the foundation of this paper lies two movements that gained widespread popularity in the early twentieth-century: the socialist and Social Gospel movements. The Rebel, in order to have the ability to spread its religious influence, spoke to the local issues that farmers and workers of the rural Southwest were most concerned, namely farm tenancy and the perceived alienation from the church. Once The Rebel attained a rather large readership, the religious writers of the paper combined the idea of the "Kingdom" proposed by Social Gospel leaders with the Cooperative Commonwealth proposed by socialists. In doing so, The Rebel's religious leaders provided a religious foundation to a Marxian proposition, making their appeal to a Cooperative Kingdom seem like common sense to the religious population of the rural Southwest. In the end, The Rebel's religious ideas came to an end in 1917 under the auspices of the Espionage Act as the socio-political environment quickly turned against any movement that threatened the status quo. By taking away The Rebel's mailing privileges, the Espionage Act effectively removed their dissenting voice from the important realm of print.

Date of publication

Fall 1-8-2015

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