Skip to main content

View Diary: Alabama woman: Their white churches preach racism (138 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  Abolitionists (17+ / 0-)

    before the Civil War were definitely a fringe position. They were concentrated mostly in New England, with Congregationalists (ancestors to the present UCC= United Church of Christ) and their offspring, the Unitarians, leading the way.

    The Quakers were/are a-political but as the above comment notes they were organizers of the Underground Railroad.

    They were not alone.

    Several major denominations split over the slavery issue in the 1840s & 1850s. (Note, for instance, that the SOUTHERN Baptist Convention was formed in 1845, splitting off from what became the American Baptist Church.) Presbyterians and Methodists, the two dominant Protestant groups, also split on North-South lines.

    Thousands of such church going people gave aid and comfort to runaway slaves as part of the Underground Railroad. And remember the "conductors" (those who hid them and moved them on their way; fed them and MIS-led slave catchers) were nationwide. Only local folk could know the twisty paths through a Carolina swamp or the backwoods trails across the Tennessee hills.

    Then too, the Northern churchgoing folk were the ones in politics. While not calling for abolition, they increasingly insisted on a national approach to the issue. In the 1850s they were willing to accept slavery as a fact on the ground (one that was already showing sings of dying in places like the Appalachian up-country and western Tennessee). But they were hardening in their stance to limit slavery, to prevent its expansion beyond its Mason-Dixon base.
          This stance was far more popular than abolition (including people like Abraham Lincoln) and was what the Southern politicians (like Jefferson Davis) were up against in issues like the Kansas-Nebraska Act, the Dred Scott decision, the fury over the Wilmot Proviso.

    This Northern, non-abolitionist, position was what the South initially seceded from in 1861. They believed it was worth breaking up the country rather than see slavery even limited to its current boundaries. That act fueled the Union effort to restore the country for the 1st 2 years of the War.

    It was only in 1863, after much bloodshed and a good deal of change in public and private opinion that Lincoln moved to embrace abolition. Initially this was as a war measure, a way of undercutting Confederate strength behind the battle lines. But having taken years to come to it, Lincoln finally embraced it fully:
    "...a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."


    "God has given wine to gladden the hearts of people." Psalm 104:15

    by WineRev on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 05:36:35 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site