The role of religion in the american civil war

civil war and the bible

War is a cruel, wasteful, and terrifying engagement between opposing forces that often must kill, or be killed. Most impressively, the case study of Richmond by Harry S.

Religion and the american civil war summary

Eventually, the Civil War would render moral absolutism less, rather than more, believable, and with long and unhappy consequences for American religion. Despite the brutalities and dehumanization of slavery, it was in their churches that Blacks sought to exercise their powers of leadership and to control their own affairs. Its pages make abundantly clear that people of every political persuasion laid claim to God's word and turned to Scripture for proof and sustenance. Stowell and Ronald C. Stout and Christopher Grasso establishes a model for a new kind of religious history of the Civil War. What was more difficult for Lincoln to determine was what, exactly, God had willed this war for. Some leaders, Martin Luther King prominent among them, have since invoked Biblical sanction for a political movement, but that has mostly been tolerated by the larger, sympathetic environment of secular liberalism as a harmless eccentricity which can go in one ear and out the other. In one way or another, then, wartime Americans viewed the Civil War through the lens of religion and saw it as a prerequisite for a coming age of peace, prosperity and spiritual harmony. Faith, theology, and church constituted the very language of self understanding, defined the limits of sympathy and imagination, provided the terms of vengeance and solace. To aid in their understanding and to help them build their ideas and arguments, refer them to the fine online sources available. Undergirded by a collective faith, it was a fertile ground during the Civil War for the freedom movement among both the enslaved and freemen. The net effect of this was to make the southern women ferocious in their opposition to the North and their insistence that their men keep fighting. If religion is not mere ideology, what relationship does it bear to material life, politics, and warfare?

Meetings are still held in every part of the army; and in many, if not all the brigades, meeting-houses have been constructed for their own use, and faithful chaplains nightly preach to large and deeply attentive congregations.

Millennialism, a belief in the imminent earthly reign of Christ, was the dominant theme of midth century Christianity.

However, historians are only slowly recognizing the contributions of Catholics and minority religions in relation to the Civil War.

Causes of the civil war

Links to online resources James Howell Moorhead holds a Ph. In a thanksgiving sermon preached the same day in Richmond, Virginia, at St. Marilyn Mellowes. Christ in the Camp Confederate Chaplain White Virginia evangelicals devoted an extraordinary amount of energy to the spiritual health of their armies. But if religion lies at the heart of everything from despair to exultation, from faith to doubt, from slavery to freedom, a sense of proportion may be hard to find. Yet it immediately raised to national crisis a conflict that had been spilling blood regionally for decades. Theories about justice in war or debates about the proportionality with which war could be waged would only serve as obstacles in the path to unconditional victory. For Southerners, the war laid an even heavier burden on religion. This language of Christian nationhood dissolved the barrier between religious and secular speech in the South, and set the stage for a moral battle that declared a declined spirituality in the North, a region—according to southern voices—now run by infidels and fanatics under a godless government. White, Jr. An important facet of your work in presenting the Civil War from the Southern perspective will be in helping your students to put aside their biases for the sake of a deeper, more nuanced understanding of the people, whether northern or southern, black or white, religious or not, who participated in the conflict. Emancipation and Ecclesiastical Separation First African Baptist Church African Americans in biracial or white-controlled congregations saw the arrival of Union troops as an opportunity. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters theatlantic.

They frankly acknowledged the following year: "The sudden and radical changes which have taken place in the relations which existed between the white and colored people, politically and socially, have so changed the aspect of things, so as to make it difficult, with the little experience which has followed, to determine what course is best to be pursued.

When the war grew bloody beyond all expectations, faith helped Americans make sense of it all.

southern perspective of the civil war

When he died on the battlefield, his memory and the strength of his conviction lived on. The teacher might remind those who have seen Gettysburg of its depiction of Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain's 20th Maine regiment holding Little Round Top against charge after charge while their comrades dropped around them.

Links to online resources James Howell Moorhead holds a Ph.

religion and the american civil war pdf

In his post-war career at Harvard, James formulated an entirely different way of understanding ideas, which he called pragmatism. Help your students step into the shoes of the ordinary soldier, sometimes a mere child, sometimes facing enemy soldiers who in other circumstances would have been friends and family; the woman left at home with children and often hostile slaves, aware that enemy troops might be near at hand ready to steal or kill; the leaders whose responsibility it was to defend home and wealth and nation; the African Americans who heard the cry of freedom, but faced deadly odds.

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The Civil War and the Corruptive Effects of Religious Absolutism