In today’s “On the Square” essay, theologian Stephen Webb looks at the career of a man called “an American saint” who was, the man’s latest biographer says, neither an American nor a saint. The Methodist leader Francis Asbury was The First American Everyman . Webb writes:
It took this poor and moderately educated young man (he came to America in 1771, at the age of 26) from across the ocean to teach Americans how to act in their new country. British Methodists were engaged in a long struggle with the established elite in their country, and this made them the perfect conveyors of egalitarian culture in this country. Only an Englishman could show Americans how not to be English.