Map of the New York State Canals (1853)
Finney saw an opportunity to unite the town's leaders in his mission against the "demon rum". The factions of old political aristocracy and the new anti-Mason movement, had created a hugely hostile and bitter political atmosphere. Finney had huge influence over those he had converted but the old wounds amongst the leaders needed healing if he was to achieve his goal. They were soon to be united into the cohesive Whig Party. In order to compete with Jackson and the party machine of the Democrats, they had to get organised and to do that, they had to bury the hatchet. Religion did the trick and Finney played his part. Harry L. Watson, in his book on Jacksonian America summarises it well: "Finney had converted large numbers of middle-level employees, who now joined the party of their employers and gave the forces of temperance and order an effective political majority at last."
So, I'm trying to write a song about this figure, who fascinates me. I've already got a picture in my head of what he looks like. My idea is to write from the perspective of Finney, as he speaks in a meeting of the Rochester's town leaders. I've got a verse so far but I'm not entirely sure where it's leading. I like the idea though and most importantly, I'm getting into this character - he's fantastic!