Civil War Thematic Essay

2012 Words 8 Pages
During the time of the American Civil War, the new Confederate States of America formed out of the previous Southern states. This new Confederacy formed its mission partially on a religious basis, with the Christian ministers leading the way. The South was a very Christian society, formed by a variety of Southern Protestant churches who often tied themselves with matters of the state, and this stayed at the heart of who the Southerners wanted their new nation to be. When the Civil War started, the Southerners also looked to their religious leaders to help guide them through a difficult time, filled with heavy losses. Also, Christian ministers began to preach about God’s plan for the Civil War, making their battle into more of a Crusade to …show more content…
Once ministers began to preach more often on the battlefield as chaplains, they kept up their talk of God’s will, “bolstering flagging Confederate morale when affairs were at their worst” (Wesley 131). For the Southern Christians, one of their main sources of Biblical inspiration was found in the Old Testament in “their parallel in biblical accounts of Israelites overpowering numerically superior forces time and again” (Miller, Stout, and Wilson 149). These stories would encourage and motivate the Confederate soldiers, especially when the battles turned on them and their losses began to add up, decreasing the overall Southern morale. After their first win at the Battle of Manassas, a Baptist minister said that the best way to continue these wins was by “walk[ing] in his [God’s] ways…he would drive the invader from our territories and restore to us the blessings of peace” (Rable 82) . The Civil War would turn in their favor “only when repentant southerners ‘become what we ought to be’” (Wesley 130). Towards the end of the War, as the final outcome became clearer, Southern Christians held on to their religious values and belief in God’s divine Providence; “It is God who has done it. Will his saints complain? Do they doubt his wisdom? Do they question his goodness?” (qtd. in Miller, Stout, and Wilson 201). Because they saw the Civil …show more content…
The Confederacy was created around the image of the Southerners “in both historically justified and sacred terms and through a religious idiom that drew on long-established practices,” partially built by the ministers (Wesley 136). God’s plan put them in the midst of a battle over their religion, one that was supported by more than just the South, but also divine Providence. This belief encouraged more Southerners to support the Civil War and helped them even in times of loss. However, the inclusion of their Christian religion tied together both their performance in the Civil War with their religion, making their win even more necessary. By speaking about God’s will in relationship to the Civil War, Southern ministers were able to encourage more support for the Confederacy’s military efforts, motivate Southerners during the war, and help explain the eventual Confederate

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