"...In view of impending conflict...": the role of Southern Christianity in sectionalism, secession, and Southern defeat
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The second place price for the 2012 Undergraduate Research Paper Contest was awarded for this paper which examines the role of religion prior to and during the Civil War. Throughout the antebellum period and into the Civil War, Southern Christianity played a pivotal but poorly explored role in driving the South to secession and shaping the national identity of the Confederacy. It was instrumental in creating the consensus and drive that led the South to leave the Union in an attempt to preserve their “peculiar institution” of slavery. The commonly-held beliefs of the southern church, that Christ was resurrected and that the South were a people chosen by God, formed much of the foundation of nascent Confederate nationalism. However, the South's Christian character was not enough to hold together a nation fracturing under the strain of defeat, let alone lead the Confederacy to victory and independence.