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Religion and American PoliticsFrom the Colonial Period to the Present$
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Mark A. Noll and Luke E. Harlow

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195317145

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195317145.001.0001

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Methodists, Politics, and the Coming of the American Civil War

Methodists, Politics, and the Coming of the American Civil War

Chapter:
(p.169) 8 Methodists, Politics, and the Coming of the American Civil War
Source:
Religion and American Politics
Author(s):

Richard Carwardine

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195317145.003.0009

This case study of Methodist politics leading to the Civil War rescues the nation's largest religious movement from the lack of attention that scholars had paid to its large political significance. This chapter shows a shifting set of political allegiances very much constrained by regional locations, but also a constant movement away from the Methodists' early efforts to steer clear of political partisanship. Methodists who voted Republican in 1860 believed they were doing more than casting a ballot for a political party. When Abraham Lincoln won, the Methodists joined with other Protestant evangelicals in a coalition driven not just by political calculation but by a burning sense of Christian duty and moral indignation to realize a multiple vision: freedom for slaves, release for both black and white from slavery's diabolical grip on both church and state, and a new direction for the Union.

Keywords:   Methodist politics, religious movement, political allegiances, political partisanship, Protestants, Abraham Lincoln

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