Biography (Dictionary of World Biography: Twentieth Century)
Article abstract: Moving away from individualism, Rauschenbusch formulated a social gospel which influenced the Church and society to accept responsibility for social and economic injustice and to institute social reform.
Walter Rauschenbusch was born on October 4, 1861, in Rochester, New York, of German immigrant parents. His father, August Rauschenbusch, came from a Lutheran background but became an Orthodox Baptist minister. In 1865, Rauschenbusch traveled with his mother and two sisters to Germany, where his father joined them in 1868. He attended public school there, but when the family returned to New York in 1869, he attended a private school and the Free Academy, both in Rochester.
From 1870 to 1879, Rauschenbusch enjoyed summer farm work in Pennsylvania. The farmer who employed him was kind and the work pleasant. At a farm in New York, however, he experienced at first hand unfair labor practices. The farmer kept him at hard work for long hours, feeding and paying him very little. This influenced his later thoughts on economic injustice.
Healthy and bright, Rauschenbusch was a mischievous boy but eager to work and learn. His mother encouraged in him a sense of humor, courtesy, an appreciation of beauty, and a love of nature. Rauschenbusch was taught to attend Sunday school and church and to read the Bible and pray, but the family religion did not include an interest in social...
(The entire section is 1987 words.)
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