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Kneeland, Abner, 1774-1844



  • Existence: 1774 - 1844

Abner Kneeland (April 7, 1774 – August 27, 1844) was an American evangelist and theologian who advocated views on women's rights, racial equality, and religious skepticism that were radical for his day. As a young man, Kneeland was a lay preacher in a Baptist church, but he converted to Universalism and was ordained as a minister. Later in life, he rejected revealed religion and Universalism's Christian God. Due to provocative statements he published, Massachusetts convicted Kneeland under its rarely used blasphemy law. Kneeland was the last man in the United States jailed for blasphemy. After his sentence, he founded a utopian society in Iowa, but it failed shortly after his death.