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Evangelicals and politics in antebellum America

Author: Richard Carwardine
Publisher: New Haven : Yale University Press, ©1993.
Edition/Format:   Book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
This book seeks to fill one of the great gaps in American historical writing by examining the relationship between evangelical Protestant piety and political life in the critical twenty years before the Civil War. It is the first study directly to address the question of how effectively evangelicals engaged in secular politics, how far they fashioned American political culture and party development, and how  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Church history
History
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Richard Carwardine
ISBN: 0300054130 9780300054132
OCLC Number: 26931100
Description: xx, 487 p. ; 24 cm.
Contents: Protestant evangelicals in an age of mass political parties --
Presidential electioneering and the appeal to evangelicals : 1840 --
Presidential electioneering and the appeal to evangelicals : 1844 and 1848 --
Patterns of electoral response : evangelicals and partisan allegiance during the second party system --
Evangelicals, slavery, and sectionalism in the 1840s --
Evangelicals and the resolution of political crisis, 1850-52 --
The collapse of the second party system : Protestant insurgents and know nothing millennialism --
The emergence of the third party system : evangelicals and sectional antagonism, 1854-56 --
Houses divided : evangelical churches and the sundering of the union, 1857-61 --
Conclusion : "God prosper the right."
Responsibility: Richard J. Carwardine.

Abstract:

This book seeks to fill one of the great gaps in American historical writing by examining the relationship between evangelical Protestant piety and political life in the critical twenty years before the Civil War. It is the first study directly to address the question of how effectively evangelicals engaged in secular politics, how far they fashioned American political culture and party development, and how instrumental they were in shaping the lines of sectional antagonism. Using voluminous public and private sources, Carwardine explores the complex character of the evangelical movement and its remarkable impact during the early years of the world's first mass political parties. He reveals how evangelicals, both in the North and the South, reinforced the drive towards two-party, adversarial politics by encouraging voting and responsible citizenship, pressuring politicians, and forcing questions of education, Indian removal, war, drink, and above all, slavery, onto the political agenda. He shows how religious loyalties affected everyday political behavior and voting habits, and how the evangelical view of church and state shaped party affiliation and influenced the break-up of the party system in the early to mid-1850s. This book goes further than any previous work to argue - convincingly and thoroughly - that religion was the coin of politics in the antebellum period, and that the roots of the Civil War lay in religious as well as secular factors. Religion furnished the vocabulary, the platform and the speakers for political debate, and by 1861 the ethical perceptions of hundreds of thousands of Americans had fused with their material ambitions to define their party loyalty. In the two halves of the Union, evangelicals offered very different solutions to the question of how to be a citizen of the Republic. But all addressed the same God and believed Him to be on their side.

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