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Religion and American PoliticsFrom the Colonial Period to the Present$
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Mark A. Noll and Luke E. Harlow

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195317145

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195317145.001.0001

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Slavery, Race, and Political Ideology in the White Christian South Before and After the Civil War

Slavery, Race, and Political Ideology in the White Christian South Before and After the Civil War

Chapter:
(p.202) (p.203) 9 Slavery, Race, and Political Ideology in the White Christian South Before and After the Civil War
Source:
Religion and American Politics
Author(s):

Luke E. Harlow

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195317145.003.0010

This chapter attempts to answer a straightforward question, but one that has not been diligently pursued by historians: If religious support was such a critical factor in the proslavery ideology that led to the Confederacy, what happened to that support when the North vanquished the South? The answer given delves deeply into the tangled racial–religious connections that have been preeminent in American political history. The chapter suggests that, once slavery ended, proslavery divines grew increasingly reliant on racist assumptions to hold their intellectual ground. The theological proslavery argument had always been racist, but in the antebellum era, with formal slavery intact, slavery's defenders were not yet a “conquered” people, which is how they saw themselves following the Civil War.

Keywords:   Civil War, slavery, Confederacy, American politics, Christianity, racism

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