The Georgia Clergy, Slavery, and the Defeat of the Holy Confederate Republic, 1863-1870 Open Access

Mannion, Richard Grant (2011)

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The Georgia Clergy, Slavery, and the Defeat of the Holy Confederate Republic, 1863-1870

In the mid nineteenth-century, various Protestant demoninations began to adopt a scriptural proslavery defense, arguing the institution had been ordained by God for the benefit of whites and blacks alike. As sectionalist tensions mounted, leading to secession and ultimately war, the clergy saw the Confederacy's crusade as a necessary means of defending their peculiar institution and preserving divine will. Evoking the name of God on behalf of the Southern cause, the clergy were firmly endowed with the belief the Confederate Army would experience victory by the hand of providence. The current project examines how the clergy's association between the Southern cause and divine will persisted in the midst of and following the defeat of the Confederacy. Through examining sermons, meetings from religious societies' meetings, and personal correspondances of ministers, it appears the pulpit perceived defeat on the battlefield as chastisement by God. Southerners' failure to uphold their covenant with Him--namely a scripturally sanctioned implenetation of slavery--led to the failure of their independent slave republic. Following the war, clerical thought continued to praise the merits of the Southern cause by romanticizing racial relations in the Old South and the gallantry of the Confederacy's failed crusade. In constructing a nostalgic, "Southern-friendly" memory of the war and sustaining its racist rhetoric even after slavery's abolition, the pulpit contributed in no small part to authoring the mythology of the Lost Cause. The messages preached by the clergy in the wake of the Confederacy's defeat would help shape the racial landscape of the South for a century following the War Between the States.

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Table of Contents
A Quote from Bishop Stephen Elliott...i

The Origins of the South's Providential Destiny...6





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