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At the time of the young age of Matthias and Elijah Pierson, who both grew up in a traditional society that had some values and placed some factors as more important than others, the two men had grown to become male chauvinists. They believed that men had great power and authority over a woman and that the woman was always subject to a man and was hence always expected to submit to her fully. Matthias even went to the extent of considering forced obedience from his wife, Margaret, by beating and harassing her so as to instill fear into her. Since his wife was a very strong woman who did not succumb to her husbands demands even after so much force and pressure had been placed upon her, Matthias was left with no choice and rather grew deep into great hatred for women. As he was building his kingdom, the Kingdom of Matthias, he gave women no consideration and only viewed them as objects of work and sex, rather than normal human beings like men. He hence demanded that women were required to stay at home and carry out petty and hard duties such as cooking, washing and house keeping while the rest of the society, the men, were to carry out all the important functions in the society such as being employed, carrying out business operations and generally carrying out income generating activities (Johnson & Wilentz, 43-71).
Even though Elijah Pierson was not an extremist as was Matthias before the two men met, he had also been influenced by the American traditions and culture and was hence basing his lifestyle on some beliefs borrowed from this history. More specifically, he had the belief that men were superior to women and that women needed to submit to their husbands fully. Moreover, he upheld the religious ways of his people and was a strict observer of religion.
After meeting Matthias, Elijah was transformed in some ways, especially through embracing strictness in observation of Christianity up to a point of being a real perfectionist in most of his activities especially the religious ones. He was influenced into following the cult of the Matthias kingdom and he also submitted to Matthias, who he saw as having a greater spiritual power.
At the end of the day, however, the two men succumb to the pressure of the Christian religion and lose their power that was acting as the foundation for their cult. They try all they could, including criticizing the Christian religion and even offering threats of regrettable consequences for all they consider as great sinners due to the fact that they embrace alien beliefs of Christianity and forsake their own beliefs.
The lifestyle of the two men evolves around a contradictory situation as on one side lies very strong beliefs that emanated from their cultures while on the other side was a strong opposition of those beliefs by the new religion of Christianity, and more specifically the Protestantism which advocated for a great revolution of the society into a more accommodative and friends setup. The new way of life paved way to a lifestyle and a society that portrayed what was referred to as the Second Great Awakening in the book, “Liberty, Equality, Power: A History of the American People”, which was the point of a greater evolution of the society from traditional beliefs and customs to a modernized way of life that considered such values as education, religion, communal activities, freedom of all human beings, equality among every member of the society, fair sharing of resources, devolution of power and leadership and following of modern and more accommodative ethics and principles (Murrin, Johnson & Pherson 15-63).
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There were many changes that occurred in the religious realm especially in matters that affected the society directly. The development of the religious movements by Elijah and Matthias was in itself a form of escape from full submission to the Christian religion as it was being presented at that time. The movements kept on clinging onto the cultural history that hindered women from participating as full members of the society and hence they were only left to some roles in the society while the major and respectable roles were left to men. This was still clear in the life of Elijah Pierson, though he had not reached the extents that had been reached by Matthias. Pierson believed that men could function more strongly and hence could undertake most of the major social responsibilities while women were viewed as inferior and hence they were left to the petty tasks at home.
On the other side, the new religion and the great awakening went beyond these beliefs and gave women power since it emphasized that every member of the society deserved to be treated equally within the society irrespective of their gender since all members possessed equal power. The religion also gave a chance for slaves to gain their freedom insisting that they also deserved to be treated as full members of the society since they were normal human beings like the rest of the people. In addition, the new religion gave way to increased community development activities such as education to every member of the society irrespective of their gender, age or background.
After the death of his wife, Pearson chose to follow the guidance of Matthias, who believed that marriage wasnââ‚¬â„¢t all that necessary and it was only there to fulfill the different aspects of love and lust. Pearson hence found himself embracing the immoral and unacceptable trend of using women only as sex objects, a factor that resulted to a bad reaction from most of the people as they opposed the way of living and the behavior of Pierson (Johnson & Wilentz, 168-205).
At the end of the day, though there was a lot of resistance to the new religion by Matthias, even as he sought to develop his own kingdom with its way of life and which could follow his set rules and ethics, the struggle did not last long since the kingdom of Matthias was soon to lose its grip on many people as they embraced the modern way of living.
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