Cleansed by fire

The world was due to end in April 1843, at least according to William Miller. Born in Massachusetts in 1782, Miller served in the War of 1812 against the British and ultimately became a Baptist preacher. No doubt influenced by his wartime experiences, he became obsessed with death and the after-life. After the war he devoted 15 years of his life to study of the Bible. During this period a number of millennial movements sprang up – influenced perhaps by economic crises (such as the recession that followed the Panic of 1837) or the growing social tensions that would in time erupt in the Civil War.

Cleansed by fire