Growing out of the ideas and proselytizing of John Wesley and others in the 18th Century, Methodism began as a reform movement within the Anglican Church before becoming independent. An evangelical denomination, Methodist adherents actively seek new members and encourage interactions with the public sphere. This derives from their belief in Arminianism, which argues that all people, not just a select group, are entitled to God's grace. These beliefs fostered a new style of preaching popularized by George Whitefield, known as revivals or camp meetings, which typically occurred outdoors and emphasized emotional resonance more than the more theologically-minded services of traditional Christians. The movement was enormously successful in the United States and gave rise to the reform movements of the 19th Century and the development of several sub-denominations.

Russell E. Richey, Kenneth E. Rowe, and Jean Miller Schimdt, American Methodism: A Compact History (Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2010, 2012), 1-107; David Hempton, Methodism: Spirit of Empire (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2005), 1-178.