Award Date

5-2009

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in History

Department

History

First Committee Member

Elizabeth White Nelson, Chair

Second Committee Member

David Holland

Third Committee Member

Michelle Tusan

Graduate Faculty Representative

Kenneth Fernandez

Number of Pages

110

Abstract

The Presbyterian Church had one of the largest pro-slavery clergy of any antebellum Protestant church. These men extracted verses and passages from the Bible to prove God sanctioned slavery. Many Southern Presbyterian ministers including Charles Hodge, James Henley Thornwell and Benjamin Morgan Palmer used the pulpit to defend slavery and advocate secession, collapsing political and religious boundaries. I focus on the 1855-1861 debates about slavery in the Presbyterian Church led by Charles Hodge, James Henley Thornwell, and Benjamin Morgan Palmer. I reorient the argument from the usual political and economic accounts of the antebellum secession discussions and build upon current scholarship on the influence of churches in encouraging secession through their cultural and spiritual justification of slavery. Further examination of the role that nineteenth-century theologians created for themselves provides an insight into the cultural and spiritual reasons religious Southerners found compelling as they embraced the political call for secession.

Keywords

American Civil War (1861-1865); Civil war; Confederate States of America; Secession; Slavery and the church--Presbyterian Church

Disciplines

American Politics | History | United States History

Language

English

Comments

Signatures have been redacted for privacy and security measures.


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