The grasshopper shrine at Cold Spring, Minnesota: Religion and market capitalism among German-American Catholics

Stephen J Gross

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    2 Scopus citations

    Abstract

    This essay provides a peculiarly Catholic slant to a long-running debate in American history over the role of religion in the transition to rural capitalism. The author investigates the construction of a small votive chapel outside the village of Cold Spring, Minnesota, ostensibly built to secure relief from the locust plagues of the 1870's, and argues that the shrine in reality had less to do with insect pests and more to do with the community's need to assert traditional, precapitalist values in the face of growing prosperity and rapidly changing market conditions. He maintains further that the ritual language expressed in the chapel's dedication evoked an intensely communalist ethic, based on shared striving, sharing, and reciprocity, that was jeopardized by the transition to more commercialized agriculture.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)215-243
    Number of pages29
    JournalCatholic Historical Review
    Volume92
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Apr 2006

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