Date of Award

5-12-2004

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

History

Abstract

Antebellum America was shaped by the Second Great Awakening, a series of religious revivals that swept across all regions of the United States and affected the lives of all Americans. The evangelical preachers who led the revivals emphasized the need to improve society to prepare for the Millennium, or second coming of Christ. The desire for reform led to calls by many northerners for the abolition of slavery. The abolitionists argued that slavery went against the teachings in the Bible. Supporters of slavery countered this attack by pointing out specific passages in the Bible that seemed to prop up slavery. These arguments led to sectional schisms in the Presbyterian, Methodist and Baptist churches. The breakup of these churches foreshadowed the Civil War. Once the war broke out, religion was used by the soldiers and their leaders to sustain their will to fight. Religion played a significant role in the coming of, and the fighting in, the Civil War.

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