RELIGION IN THE SOUTH
A RECOGNIZED HISTORICAL THESIS is that religion can be one of the strongest bonds of nationalism. However, in the United States, the presence of denominations which spread across regional boundaries before the Civil War was not a bond able to withstand the stress of sectional conflict. Under the strain of the slavery controversy, this spiritual link snapped.
Perhaps in the background of this development lay the fact that although the denominations were theoretically united, in essence most denominations contained diversities of opinion that would prove a source of weakness in time of trial. Religion did not play the role in the colonization of the South as it had in the North, and the Anglican Church became the established one in all of the Southern colonies. Dissatisfaction, however, developed, in the "back country" in particular, over the aristocratic tendencies and lack of religious zeal of the Church of England. This fostered the rise of dissenting sects which differed in theology and objected to the favored position of the Anglicans. Therefore, following the Revolution, the separation of church and state in the South was relatively easy to secure. The "Great Revival" of 1800 deeply affected the middle and lower classes of Southern people, strengthening the cause of evangelical Protestantism.