The first Unitarian congregations emerged out of schisms in New England Congregational parishes, while Universalist congregations were primarily founded as congregations intended to support belief in universal salvation.
Schisms and Sects
Unitarian Universalism, which began as a sectarian Protestant movement, has experienced little to no sectarian activity, largely because of its open liberal perspectives.
Missions and Expansion
In North America, both traditions began in New England and the mid-Atlantic regions, and as the population of the United States migrated westward, Unitarianism and Universalism followed. Today, Unitarian Universalism exists primarily in the United States and Canada.
Exploration and Conquest
In general, Unitarian Universalism does not engage in overt missionary activity, avoiding the resulting issues of conquest or violence. As a liberal movement of relatively recent origin, the religion tends to emphasize pacifism, anti-imperialism, and human rights.
The two separate denominations merged in 1961 to form the Unitarian Universalist Association, a union that continues today. Individual Unitarian Universalists embrace a diversity of beliefs, and they tend to support liberal and progressive causes within the broader culture.