Abolition Movement Essay

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Religion and Abolition

Throughout history religion has been used for both the betterment of society and to justify the many atrocious actions that man has committed. People have, and always will, twist it for their own personal gains. Nowhere is this more evident than in America, during the 19th century. In the Age of Reform, religion had both a positive and negative affect on the Abolition movement in the United States of America by helping to end slavery in the North and prolonging it in the South.
In the Northern States, the Protestant religions played a key part in demolishing the institution of slavery. The United States as a whole was greatly changed by the religious revival known as the Second Great Awakening however unlike the
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The North was not the only part of the country to feel the effects of religious revival in the Second Great Awakening. While not truly the most religious people before this time period, they were shaped into the modern “Bible Belt” that it is today by Protestant preachers (Southern Protestantism 309). This however, came with completely different effects than that of the North. In the previously mentioned Methodist and Presbyterian churches the South created their own identity in supporting their long time practice of Slavery. They very nearly split North and South over the issue of slavery. On the other hand, the Baptist church actually did have a schism with the Southern Baptists supporting slavery (Southern Protestantism 310). Because of these issues, the abolition movement did not spread well in the south Delaware (Methodist Address Calling For Abolition 3). In the deep south, religion was used in an attempt to subjugate slaves. Slave masters felt that their way was “God Sanctioned” as many Old Testament figures owned slaves (Southern Protestantism 310). In order to prove this to the slaves, they were educated in Christianity but purely in parts that seemed to endorse slavery (Currie 80). In addition, the masters attempted to block anti-slavery Christianity from the masses in fear of revolt (Currie 82). With the thought that God was on side of the slave masters, the Northern Abolitionist views did not matter to those in the …show more content…
In the year 1839, Pope Gregory XVI condemned the slave trade and by extension slavery in general, thus, setting an anti-slavery precedence for all Catholics. At the same time, Catholics in general had a serious mistrust of the evangelise, Northern abolitionist preachers due to their often anti-catholic opinions. Bishops such as John England also played a part in Catholic slavery. He sought to convince the public that the Pope had never actually spoken out against slavery. Also the anti-slavery voices of anti-slavery bishops were often not heard (Davis 4). This resulted in most Southern Catholics holding views on slavery similar to the Protestants as the average layman had no religious voice telling him or her otherwise. In short, Catholicism only really prolonged slavery in the

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