When Slavery Was Called Freedom: Evangelicalism, Proslavery, and the Causes of the Civil War / Edition 1

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Honorable Mention, 2003 Seaborg Award for Civil War Scholarship When Slavery Was Called Freedom uncovers the cultural and ideological bonds linking the combatants in the Civil War era and boldly reinterprets the intellectual foundations of secession. John Patrick Daly dissects the evangelical defense of slavery at the heart of the nineteenth century's sectional crisis. He brings a new understanding to the role of religion in the Old South and the ways in which religion was used in the Confederacy. Southern evangelicals argued that their unique region was destined for greatness, and their rhetoric gave expression and a degree of coherence to the grassroots assumptions of the South. The North and South shared assumptions about freedom, prosperity, and morality. For a hundred years after the Civil War, politicians and historians emphasized the South's alleged departures from national ideals. Recent studies have concluded, however, that the South was firmly rooted in mainstream moral, intellectual, and socio-economic developments and sought to compete with the North in a contemporary spirit. Daly argues that antislavery and proslavery emerged from the same evangelical roots; both Northerners and Southerners interpreted the Bible and Christian moral dictates in light of individualism and free market economics. When the abolitionist's moral critique of slavery arose after 1830, Southern evangelicals answered the charges with the strident self-assurance of recent converts. They went on to articulate how slavery fit into the "genius of the American system" and how slavery was only right as part of that system.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Daly covers new ground along a well-trodden path of historical scholarship." — Virginia Magazine of History and Biography

"Daly's work is admirable, both for the thoroughness of his research and for his carefully detailed history of evangelicalism and the proslavery movement." — Journal of American Folklore

"When Slavery Was Called Freedom definitely provides new and useful information for those interested in the religious attitudes of the Confederate South." — Debbie A. Hanson, Journal of American Folklore

"This highly commendable work should make its mark in the field of American religious history." — Bertram Wyatt-Brown

Evangelical Christians in the northern and southern US held the same moral premises during the decades leading to the Civil War, says Daly (American history, State U. of New York-Brockpoint), but drew different practical conclusions from them concerning slavery. He argues that the two regions were much more culturally homogeneous than most historians like to admit. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813190938
  • Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
  • Publication date: 10/8/2004
  • Series: Religion in the South
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 6.02 (w) x 9.02 (h) x 0.62 (d)

Table of Contents

1 Freedom and evangelical culture in the south 6
2 The post-1831 birth of evangelical proslavery 30
3 Answering abolitionists, defending slaveholders 57
4 The evangelical vision of the south and its future 73
5 Evangelical proslavery, free labor, and disunion, 1850-1861 111
6 The proslavery formula and the test of war, 1860-1865 136
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2002


    When Slavery was called freedom is an important, lucid and highly intellectual work. Daly's thesis is that despite the traditional view (i.e. Mcpherson), the South was not cultrally diffrent from the rest of Antebellum America. Daly posits that the South deeply shared the individualistic capitalist ethos of the industrial North. This thesis is both intriguing and well argued. In the age of corrupt capitalism and the rhetoric of self help, Daly's depiction of how southern elites used the vocabulary of individual power to morally cloak an inhumane system strikes close to home. Daly's pathbreaking work is a strong contribution to the historigraphy of the roots of the Civil War and a fine example of cultural/religous history. should be read by anybody atempting to understand the Confederacy.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2002

    An amazing book

    An extraordinary piece of scholarship that breaks new ground in a field saturated with pseudo-historical works. Daly¿s synthesis and conclusions linking both sides of the slavery issue to evangelism sheds a unique and intriguing light on the subject. This book should be required reading in all classes studying American Religion, the antebellum and civil war periods, and any class dealing with ideology and morality in the American experience. Not only am I going to recommend this book to all of my friends and colleagues, I'm going to suggest it to people I meet in the bars and restaurants around town.

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