The early 1900s was a time of crisis in America. Large-scale industrialization buried the poor in poverty while elevating a lucky few to new heights of monocle-wearing decadence. A cult of individualism meant that people cared more about buying pretty things than they cared about the community. The stale scent of religious hypocrisy hung in the air: Some people were just going through the motions of religion, while others believed they should let a sinful world burn.
Enter , a firebrand of the social gospel movement. Rauschenbusch encouraged Christians to get out into their communities and help people, instead of just sitting around in smug assurance of their own salvation. His message inspired a new breed of Christian activists who changed the face of American politics,