Although the current history of the Social Gospel movement is broad and comprehensive, it fails to address the unique ways that women participated and what the movement meant to them. This study redefines the Social Gospel movement, centering on the concept of the Kingdom of God as the unifying element of reforms and reformers. By doing so, the different ways that women participated in the movement come to light. This analysis shows that women reformers tended to work actively instead of intellectually for reforms, worked as communities in large reform organizations, and resisted the Victorian gender ideology of the time. By looking at two particular reformers, Frances Willard and Maud Ballington Booth, this study shows that for women, the concept of the kingdom meant a change in gender roles and movement toward gender equality. This depiction of the kingdom was different from that held by male Social Gospel reformers, who largely believed in the Victorian separate sphere doctrine. This study contributes to the larger academic conversation about the Social Gospel movement and challenges previous definitions for the movement. By doing so, it brings attention to the different ways that women saw their work in the Social Gospel and includes their contributions in the history of the movement.


Graber, Jennifer



Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2009 Sarah Elizabeth Tarbell