Christianity in the American Civil War

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T

tstumf

Guest
#1
I must admit I’m kinda an amateur history nerd. With all going on in the world today and the polarization of everything I really debated about weather or not to post this. Id like to try to keep this discussion as level and mature as possible. As a christian I’ve often wondered if the American Civil War hurt Americans faith adversely post war vs pre war. And if we still feel the effect on our faith from it to this day. Do we as Americans put a check,or limit our faith somewhat by default due to the circumstances and what we learned of that war? I know both sides had many leaders that were absolutely convinced God was on their side. Gen. Stonewall Jackson’s faith seems to stand out above others. Is it possible Americans are weakened and take a step back away from faith due to this fact? Any Christian historians out there care to enlighten me or is there a good book to read regarding it?
 

Mission21

Pathfinder
Mar 12, 2019
679
654
93
#2
Good topic/post.
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Historical note:
After the war..
- Revivalism (example: D L Moody)
- Worldwide Mission movement.
- Social activism/reform.
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During the 'Third Great Awakening'..(from the late 1850's to
the early 20th century).
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Did the Civil War contribute/cause those elements? ( Revivalism,
social activism, etc..)
- Interesting question..
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* My view/perspective is..
- There were 3-4 Great Awakening..in United States.
 

Seeker47

Well-known member
Aug 7, 2018
535
507
93
#3
We may tend to underestimate how deeply the Christian faith was ingrained in Americans at the time of the civil war. As a history buff, I would recommend reading "Co. Aytch" by Sam R. Watkins. While this little book is not meant to be a religious volume; it was written by a Confederate front-line "grunt" soldier; faith is interwoven throughout this mans witness to that terrible event.

It is also the only book about the war I know about that was not written by a general or politician. I think it is an American treasure.

The American Civil War also came at a time of great social and economic change, the industrial revolution was at full bore in the US and we were changing from an agrarian society to an industrial based economic system. Comparatively, I personally think the war's impact was minimal compared to social issues. (IMHO)

Great question!
 
T

tstumf

Guest
#4
We may tend to underestimate how deeply the Christian faith was ingrained in Americans at the time of the civil war. As a history buff, I would recommend reading "Co. Aytch" by Sam R. Watkins. While this little book is not meant to be a religious volume; it was written by a Confederate front-line "grunt" soldier; faith is interwoven throughout this mans witness to that terrible event.

It is also the only book about the war I know about that was not written by a general or politician. I think it is an American treasure.

The American Civil War also came at a time of great social and economic change, the industrial revolution was at full bore in the US and we were changing from an agrarian society to an industrial based economic system. Comparatively, I personally think the war's impact was minimal compared to social issues. (IMHO)

Great question!
Thankyou! I will check that book out.
 

Lanolin

Well-known member
Dec 15, 2018
16,538
5,594
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#5
interesting q

I read Harriet Beecher Stowes Uncle Toms Cabin, written certainly at the time there was religious feeling that slavery was wrong though the industrialisation that replaced it also hurt and displaced as many people...plus it lead to segregation.

The south never really recovered and deals with poverty and racism to this day.

At the time, printing presses that were operating by Christians that were anti-slavery were destroyed by people who didnt want the slaves free. They feared it would ruin their plantations business. In the end it came down to money, which is the root of all evil. (foreign) People were cheap labour and slavery was the result.

I am sure there were as many christian slave owners as there were non christian slave owners (anyone who is an employer basically gets other people to work FOR them is a master and any employee could be their slave) but the way people were employed or treated them made the difference between slavery and servitude. Today, we have wage slavery, and american corporations can still be the worst at providing a living. There are horror stories out there still.
 

shittim

Senior Member
Dec 16, 2016
10,060
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#6
Greed, "The want of money is the root of all kinds of evil", money being a tool needs to be used for good, in His name and to further His gospel.
In and of itself it is not 'evil". My own ancestor belonged to a regiment know as "the temperance regiment" being organized by a Methodist minister who asked an oath swearing abstinence for the duration of service. General Grant was said to have looked upon it as a very solid and dependable regiment.
 

Lanolin

Well-known member
Dec 15, 2018
16,538
5,594
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#7
Plantation owners such as they were became very wealthy on the backs of slave labour, and they were seen as high status, the more slaves you owned, the more cotton picked, the more proft you had. It might not matter how you treated those slaves as long as the cotton got picked.

Today corporations operate on same model, the workers do their jobs for minimum wage, the corporation makes a profit, none of it going to the workers, most of it going to the owners or CEOs coffers. You can go to the moon with all your profits, but if your workers live in a rotting home and cant afford medical care thats not your problem.
 

shittim

Senior Member
Dec 16, 2016
10,060
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#8
Greed, the want of money. They were not all like that. Way to easy to think all were.
A more realistic study of the history of America, heavily supported by hundreds of original documents, is here.
 
T

tstumf

Guest
#9
What I find interesting was that even though Jackson was fighting for the south and in turn slavery he and his wife illegally and intentionally taught the slaves he had around him to read and I believe he taught them to read from the Bible. Wouldn’t a person who commanded an army that was to fight to keep slaves be opposed to that? I’d think by the flesh he would want to keep the slaves in line with the confederate laws and keep the slaves dumb unable to read or write… . I’m led to believe that there was something more going on than just simply rich plantation owners fighting to keep their slaves, something deeper perhaps. Maybe I’m reading into the war too much. Souls one believe the hypocrisy of it pushed God to create his untimely death by friendly fire….. the guy was fearless. Matches his horse out into the middle of a gunfight and stands there commanding his army like a “stone wall” in front of his enemy never takes a mortal wound has horses shot out from under him but never gets shot himself but then takes a fatal shot from one of his own under cover of darkness as a friendly fire incident and dies. I don’t know. Something had to be driving some of these men beyond money. Im also likely to believe it was the Holy Spirit that came over Robert Lee and urged his early surrender. By all accounts the official war could have drug on for years more. Some things I just struggle understanding with their faith and the war as I learned it in a secular school.
 

shittim

Senior Member
Dec 16, 2016
10,060
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#10
States rights was the original intent of the Southern States support, we haven't been given a true picture of the causes of the civil war.
I am sure David Baton's Wall Builders has thousands of original documents on this.
 

Lanolin

Well-known member
Dec 15, 2018
16,538
5,594
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#12
I think money on both sides were driving ppl towards war, war did make lots of money from those that profited from it (and made the weapons). People might say it was land, but plenty plantation owners would have walked off the land to set up a profitable enterprise somewhere else, plus they didnt really look after the land that well either. They had to pay huge tariffs on the cotton and they didnt want to.

the dustbowls of the midwest america happened because of bad farming practices and get rich quick wheat bonanzas. it was greed..the absentee landowners just took the money and ran. It wasnt even their land the govt had offered it to white settlers only but it was orignally native american grazing grounds for bison...not suited to intensive agrictulture.

Im sure there was other factors involved but from my reading of it the american civil war was mostly to do with greed..money and power. The slaves at the time were unfortunatley caught up in the middle of it. When they got their freedom or emancipation they were kind of barred from voting and education and jobs still for years and years afterward. Many fled north and ended up swallowed up by low skilled factory jobs there, and living conditions would be even worse because many couldnt even find decent housing. or they would be denied renting a place because there was still segergation and racist attitutdes.

Nobody ever got their 40 acres and a mule the freed slaves were promised at the end of that war.
 

shittim

Senior Member
Dec 16, 2016
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#13
40 acres and a mule was given to veterans, my family still has that land in the family, I know others families who do as well, not so much the mule. lol. Most "history" available is revisionist history. Wallbuilders has accurate, well supported history.
Again, it isn't money that is the root of evil, it is greed, the want of money.
 

Lanolin

Well-known member
Dec 15, 2018
16,538
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#14
actually bible says love of money is root of all evil...it doesnt say greed, though love of money IS greed,

Never said money is evil, so anyway.

the promised land to freed slaves never happened, they didnt seem to count as 'veterans'. If they did get it they soon had an order to reverse it. Most freed slaves found work as sharecroppers where they were only working on leased land but they were kept in poverty.

history has lots of different points of view, the gospel has four, so you just have to look at it from all sides.

its never ONE point of view thats right because in war they both fought each other. The north 'won' because they had more people, though the south had more land area. Thats why the capital is in washington DC in the north rather than say in Kansas or somewhere smack bang in the middle of the united states.
 

Lanolin

Well-known member
Dec 15, 2018
16,538
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#15
Many christians would have been pacifists in this war and just dealt with the wounded setting up hospitals chapels etc.
the slaves had their own form of church cos they couldnt gather in their owners churches.

the civil war wasnt anything God had mandated, though both sides appealed to God to win. If theyd just settled it over a game of football or baseball it probably would have been more effective.
 

JaumeJ

Senior Member
Jul 2, 2011
19,806
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#16
The Word also teaches that money solves all problems.......Proverbs. (not referencing spiritual)