This anthology of original essays by historians explores the religious dimensions of the antebellum sectional conflict over slavery. Covering such familiar topics as the proslavery argument and denominational schisms, these essays emphasize the diversity that existed within regions, states, and denominations; the importance of local factors in shaping responses to the slavery controversy; and the powerful pulls toward moderation and unity that existed within the institutional church. Drawing on the recent flowering of scholarship on religion, the essays collected here provide a variety of new approaches, including quantitative methodologies and a heightened sensitivity to issues of race, class, and gender.
The most complete discussion of the various ways religion undergirded most of the important issues of the day. The quality is high, and the collection makes an important contribution to antebellum social, cultural, religious, and political history.
—John B. Boles, author of Religion in Antebellum Kentucky
The real merit of this book is to explore slavery and sectionalism within the context of antebellum Protestantism as a means to expose new connections and to highlight established scholarship in a fresh manner.
—Walter H. Conser Jr., coeditor of Religious Diversity and American Religious History
Introduced by a valuable historiographical essay by editors McKivigan and Snay on 'Religion and the Problem of Slavery in Antebellum America,' this excellent collection has much to offer those who study conflicts over slavery within as well as between the North and the South.
—James Brewer Stewart, Journal of the Early Republic
Historians have given extensive attention to abolitionism in all of its aspects, including its religious roots. Such attention or even obsession extends to the religious origins and shape of the proslavery argument. Religion and the Antebellum Debate over Slavery
does not rehash the familiar debates, but broadens and deepens our understanding of the relationships of religious Americans to the increasingly pressing question of slavery.
—Ruth Alden Doan, Florida Historical Quarterly
These essays deepen and complicate our understanding of Protestants' role in the sectional crisis and their religious opinions about slavery. One wishes that the collection had included more discussion of non-evangelicals and some discussionof non-Protestants, but these essays will undoubtedly inspire other scholarship. Kudos to John McKivigan and Mitchell Snay for this exciting and nuanced collection.
—Cynthia Lynn Lyerly, Georgia Historical Quarterly
Representative of sophisticated new research on the influence of multiple religious discourses in shaping antebellum southern culture and points toward intriguing possibilities for pursuing the questions raised by the contributors.
—David Herr, H-SHEAR