Religion and the Antebellum Debate over Slavery / Edition 1

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This anthology of original essays by historians explores the religious dimensions of the antebellum sectional conflict over slavery. Covering such familiar topics as the proslavery argument and denominational schisms, these essays emphasize the diversity that existed within regions, states, and denominations; the importance of local factors in shaping responses to the slavery controversy; and the powerful pulls toward moderation and unity that existed within the institutional church. Drawing on the recent flowering of scholarship on religion, the essays collected here provide a variety of new approaches, including quantitative methodologies and a heightened sensitivity to issues of race, class, and gender.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The most complete discussion of the various ways religion undergirded most of the important issues of the day. The quality is high, and the collection makes an important contribution to antebellum social, cultural, religious, and political history."--John B. Boles, author of Religion in Antebellum Kentucky

"The real merit of this book is to explore slavery and sectionalism within the context of antebellum Protestantism as a means to expose new connections and to highlight established scholarship in a fresh manner."--Walter H. Conser Jr., coeditor of Religious Diversity and American Religious History

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780820320762
  • Publisher: University of Georgia Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/1998
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 408
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

John R. McKivigan is a professor of history at West Virginia University. He is the author of The War Against Proslavery Religion. Mitchell Snay is an associate professor of history at Denison University and the author of Gospel of Disunion.
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Table of Contents

Introduction: Religion and the Problem of Slavery in Antebellum America 1
1 Religion and the Origins of the Slavery Debate
Of Stations and Relations: Proslavery Christianity in Early National Virginia 35
Slavery and the Evangelical Enlightenment 68
2 Conflict within the Ranks
"To Keep the Way Open for Methodism": Georgia Wesleyan Neutrality toward Slavery, 1844-1861 109
"Matters of Justice between Man and Man": Northern Divines, the Bible, and the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 134
3 The Center Does Not Hold: Individuals, Institutions, and Slavery
Evangelical Womanhood and the Politics of the African Colonization Movement in Virginia 169
Suffering with Slaveholders: The Limits of Francis Wayland's Antislavery Witness 196
Leonard Bacon, the Congregational Church, and Slavery, 1845-1861 221
4 Breaking Bonds: The Denominational Schisms
Evangelicals Divided: Abolition and the Plan of Union's Demise in Ohio's Western Reserve 249
"To Rend the Body of Christ": Proslavery Ideology and Religious Schism from a Mississippi Perspective 273
The Restructuring of Southern Religion: Slavery, Denominations, and the Clerical Profession in Virginia 296
"Religion Has Something ... to Do with Politics": Southern Evangelicals and the North, 1845-1860 317
The Sectional Division of the Methodist and Baptist Denominations as Measures of Northern Antislavery Sentiment 343
Contributors 365
Index 367
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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2003

    Expose of Religion and Slavery

    The editors have done an outstanding job in bringing together essays by top historians in the field to explore the ignored connection of religious thought and political use of that thought in the antebellum debate over slavery. Of particular interest are the essays by Robert P. Forbes and Laura Mitchell. These two essays by themselves deserve five stars.

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