The Prophet Matthias came forth to establish God’s kingdom on earth, and this grandiose kingdom would settle in various New York sites. Its theology was a mixture of Biblical and philosophical clichés, but cults like Matthias’ don’t generally attract followers based on theology but rather through the charisma of the leader. This was not the first—nor would it be the last—of these revivalist “kingdoms.” Most have disappeared from memory, as this one undoubtedly would have, had its leader not been the subject of a sensational trial just as the penny press was becoming the dominant media among newly-enfranchised, working class Americans.
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