A Visitation of God: Northern Civilians Interpret the Civil Warby Sean A. Scott
Pub. Date: 12/03/2010
Publisher: Oxford University Press
When Abraham Lincoln expressed gratitude for the northern churches in the spring of 1864, it had nothing to do with his appreciation of doctrine, liturgy, or Christian fellowship. Collectively, the churches earned the president's admiration with rabid patriotism and support for the war. Ministers publicly proclaimed the righteousness of the Union, condemned slavery… See more details below
When Abraham Lincoln expressed gratitude for the northern churches in the spring of 1864, it had nothing to do with his appreciation of doctrine, liturgy, or Christian fellowship. Collectively, the churches earned the president's admiration with rabid patriotism and support for the war. Ministers publicly proclaimed the righteousness of the Union, condemned slavery, and asserted that God favored the federal army. Yet all of this would have amounted to nothing more than empty bravado without the support of the men and women sitting in the pews. This outstanding book examines the Civil War from the perspective of the northern laity, those religious civilians whose personal faith influenced their views on politics and slavery, helped them cope with physical separation and death engendered by the war, and ultimately enabled them to discern the hand of God in the struggle to preserve the national Union.
From Lincoln's election to his assassination, the book weaves together political, military, social, and intellectual history into a religious narrative of the Civil War on the northern home front. Packed with compelling human interest stories, this account draws on letters, diaries, newspapers and church records along with published sources to conclusively demonstrate that many devout civilians regarded the Civil War as a contest imbued with religious meaning. In the process of giving their loyal support to the government as individual citizens, religious Northerners politicized the church as a collective institution and used it to uphold the Union so the purified nation could promote Christianity around the world. Christian patriotism helped win the war, but the politicization of religion did not lead to the redemption of the state.
- Oxford University Press
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Table of Contents
Chapter 1. "If God Saves Not Our Country It Must Be Lost"
Providence, Secession, and the Outbreak of War
Chapter 2. "Until the Great Sin . . . Has Been Removed"
God's Chastening, the Sacred Union, and Emancipation
Chapter 3. "Try to Live the Life of a Christian"
The Personal Faith of Women on the Home Front
Chapter 4. "Christian Patriotism" in Flush
Political Preaching, Antiwar Dissent, and Summer Thanksgiving
Chapter 5. "Exhorting You to Be Faithful to God and to Men"
Fatherly Counsel and the Path to Christian Manhood
Chapter 6. "Discord Sown among Brethren"
Church Division and Bible Appropriation
Chapter 7. "Earth Has No Sorrow That Heaven Cannot Cure"
Civilian Perspectives on Death and Eternity
Chapter 8. "God Be Thanked the Nation and Humanity Were Saved"
Retribution against Traitors, the Reelection of Lincoln, and the Termination of War
Chapter 9. "How Mysterious Are the Ways of Providence"
Civilian Attitudes toward the Assassination of Lincoln
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