Religion and the American Civil War

By Randall M. Miller; Harry S. Stout et al. | Go to book overview

3
Religion in the Collapse of the American Union

EUGENE D. GENOVESE

I can fight your battles so long as you make the constitution your fortress," GovernorWilliam L. Marcy of New York wrote John C. Calhoun. "But if you go to the Bible or make it a question of ethics, you must not expect me or any respectable member of the free states to be with you." Marcy did not understand that the scriptural defense of slavery provided the moral foundation of the slaveholders' worldview. And as for the southern slaveholders, so for their opponents. "As I view the contest," an antislavery farmer wrote Abraham Lincoln, "it is no less than a contest for the advancement of the kingdom of Heaven or the kingdom of Satan."1

The abolitionists had long denounced slavery as a sin, and the Free Soil party declared slavery "a sin against God and a crime against man, which no human enactment nor usage can make right." Leonard Bacon cried out that if slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong. Bacon appealed to the spirit of the Bible. Ferdinand Jacobs of Charleston replied that the Word expresses the Holy Spirit: "If the scriptures do not justify slavery, I know not what they do justify. If we err in maintaining this relation, I know not when we are right-- truth then has parted her usual moorings and floated off into an ocean of uncertainty." 2

As both sides well understood, the designation "sin" was decisive. "Moral evil" would not do, for both antislavery and proslavery men could speak of slavery as a moral evil and yet mean radically different things. Antislavery men equated the two terms. Although proslavery men occasionally also did so, they usually distinguished between them, assigning the moral evil of slavery to the category of all human institutions necessitated by original sin. To declare slavery a sin meant to reject all proposals for gradual emanicipation, to say nothing of amelioration, for it condemned every slaveholder as a wanton sinner. It was a call to holy war. 3

-74-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Religion and the American Civil War
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 434

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.