Part two of a series
In the book, Religion and the American Civil War, the authors discuss how religion became important in America during the early republic and into the early 1800s. This became particularly true as the United States evolved from an agrarian society into an industrialized society. Both North and South were extremely concerned that many people were losing their souls while in search for wealth. This concern spurred many religious questions, because Americans had defined its nation in religious terms. Both sides of the Civil War merged with God and State. Christian nurturing was part of Christian war making. Women often tried to make sense of the Civil War through religion. Religious conviction was enduring war’s pain.
Both Northern and Southern ministers emphasized that women’s responsibility was to find meaning in the areas as prescribed by their sex, their obligations to other, and their own families. Women’s path to salvation was in meeting their womanly duties. In Gospel of Disunion: Religion and Separatism in the Antebellum South, the Mitchell Snay states that especially in the South, evangelical Protestantism dominated the religious life of most Southerners. Like the North, repentance and conversion gave order and meaning to lives.
Randall M. Miller, Harry S. Stout and Charles Reagen Wilson, Religion and the American Civil War, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998), 21-27.
Mitchell Snay, Gospel and Disunion: Religion and Separatism in the Antebellum South, (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1997), 3.