The Civil War and Aftermath
The American Republic plunged into the Civil War with the image of a Christian nation securely fixed in mind. The zealous abolitionists reflected the combination of New England ethical zeal and revivalism, and the apologists for the ante-bellum South read Sir Walter Scott and proof-texted from the Bible to prove that the children of Ham were purposed for slavery from the beginning. Most tragic of all was the breakdown of communication between the sections, a breakdown which started with the divisions in the churches --Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist, and which created a situation in which the most strenuous efforts were made to suppress discussion altogether. It was the Gag Law passed by the House of Representatives in 1832, a law which tabled without discussion all petitions against slavery, that made the Civil War inevitable. The only alternative, in the final analysis, to violence and coercion in public policy is the maintenance of full, free and informed discussion as the base of legislation.
The sectional division of the country which ended in Civil War ( 1861-65) was preceded by rancor and division in the churches. One of the first schisms occurred in 1837- 38 among the Presbyterians. Although the split of New