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Henry Ward Beecher, US social reformer

Henry Ward Beecher, US social reformer

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Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887), US social reformer and abolitionist. Beecher was born in Litchfield, Connecticut, seventh of 13 children of a preacher. His Calvinist, orthodox upbringing led to his studying theology and became a minister himself. In 1870 he was implicated in a highly publicised scandal accused of adultery. When he was exonerated, he remained hugely popular. This he exploited in publicising his support for women's sufrage, temperence, Darwinism and the abolition of slavery. During the Civil War, his church raised its own regiment to fight for the North. However, his liberalism didn't extend to the working classes. Beecher died of a cerebral haemorrhage in Brooklyn, where he had been a church minister for 40 years.

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