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Prophesies of GodlessnessPredictions of America's Iminent Secularization from the Puritans to Postmodernity$
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Charles T Mathewes and Christopher McKnight Nichols

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195342536

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195342536.001.0001

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 The Civil War

 The Civil War

Redeemer President and Warrior Prophet: Abraham Lincoln, William T. Sherman, and Evangelical Protestantism

(p.75) 4 The Civil War
Prophesies of Godlessness

Wayne Wei‐siang Hsieh

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the relationship between evangelical Protestantism and the American Civil War through the lives of Abraham Lincoln and William T. Sherman. The jeremiad script of evangelical Protestantism played a major role in sustaining both the Union's and the Confederacy's war efforts, even while Abraham Lincoln's own views on Providence evolved in a manner both similar to and distinctive from that of his contemporaries. Sherman, in contrast, represented the war's potential for fomenting godlessness, with the challenge his Deification of the State represented to conventional nineteenth‐century Christianity. While evangelicals proved equal to the task of fending off this heterodoxy in the short term, the military and political forces Sherman represented had lasting effects on some postwar figures like Oliver Wendell Holmes, and in historical terms, they cannot be ignored.

Keywords:   jeremiad script, Providence, Abraham Lincoln, William T. Sherman, evangelical Protestantism, American Civil War, Godlessness

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