Gospel of Disunion: Religion and Separatism in the Antebellum South / Edition 1

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Overview

The centrality of religion in the life of the Old South, the strongly religious nature of the sectional controversy over slavery, and the close affinity between religion and antebellum American nationalism all point toward the need to explore the role of religion in the development of southern sectionalism. In Gospel of Disunion Mitchell Snay examines the various ways in which religion adapted to and influenced the development of a distinctive southern culture and politics before the Civil War, adding depth and form to the movement that culminated in secession. From the abolitionist crisis of 1835 through the formation of the Confederacy in 1861, Snay shows how religion worked as an active agent in translating the sectional conflict into a struggle of the highest moral significance. At the same time, the slavery controversy sectionalized southern religion, creating separate institutions and driving theology further toward orthodoxy. By establishing a biblical sanction for slavery, developing a slaveholding ethic for Christian masters, and demonstrating the viability of separation from the North through the denominational schisms of the 1830s and 1840s, religion reinforced central elements in southern political culture and contributed to a moral consensus that made secession possible.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
A major contribution to clarifying what increasingly seems like a fundamental cause of the war.

Charles Reagan Wilson, American Historical Review

Snay utilizes a broad range of primary sources to portray and analyze the religious dimension of this momentous rupture.

John B. Boles, Georgia Historical Quarterly

Gospel of Disunion brings together all the recent scholarship in a most accessible and congenial synthesis.

Bertram Wyatt-Brown, Reviews in American History

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807846872
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 9/29/1997
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 0.63 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 9.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Mitchell Snay is associate professor of history at Denison University.
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Table of Contents

Contents

Acknowledgments
Introcution: Religion and the search for Southern distinctiveness

Part One: Religion and Sectional Politics
1. The abolitionist crisis of 1835: The issues defined

Part Two: Religion and Slavery
2. Slavery defended: The morality of slavery and the infidelity of abolitionism
3. Slavery sanctified: The slaveholding ethic and the religious mission to the slaves

Part Three: Religion and Separatism
4. Harbingers of disunion: The denominational schisms
5. The religious logic of secession
6. Religion and the formation of a Southern national ideology

Conclusion: Religion, the origins of Southern nationalism, and the coming of the Civil War

Bibliography
Index

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