Asa Mahan (1799–1889) experienced a religious conversion as a young man and retained a preoccupation with personal salvation and sin. After his ordination in 1829, he was installed as minister of the Sixth Presbyterian Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. In 1835, rebellion broke out in Cincinnati among the students of Lane Seminary, a hotbed of abolitionism. Mahan supported the students as the lone antislavery advocate among the trustees. The “Lane rebels,” as they were known, transferred to the Oberlin Collegiate Institute, and Mahan was asked to become Oberlin’s first president. There, he was also named Professor of Moral and Intellectual Philosophy and Associate Professor of Theology. Mahan used his new base at Oberlin to champion the claims of emancipation and equal co-education. He became an aggressive fighter for more reasonable faith in religion, and a greater justice in the social realm. The faculty of Oberlin quarreled frequently with the highly religious Mahan, and in 1850 they voted unanimously to relieve him of his position. In his place, famed abolitionist and preacher Charles Finney was named president of the college. Mahan then gathered a small band of friends and students and founded Cleveland University. Later, he was also named the first president of Adrian College, in Adrian, Michigan. In 1874, Mahan moved to England, where he published frequently until his death.
Books by Asa Mahan
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