Christian Duty in the Crisis of Secession: A Comparison of Charleston and Philadelphia
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This thesis explores how Protestant Charlestonians and Philadelphians interpreted and responded to the secession crisis of 1860-1861. "Christian duty" was a vital part of these responses, not only informing the worldview of Protestants, but directing their actions in the midst of the crisis. Charlestonians and Philadelphians defined the concept of "Christian duty" in similar ways, however as the crisis progressed they applied it in increasingly different manners. Early in 1860, Protestants in both cities emphasized their shared spiritual and political heritage, often defining Christian duty in regard to unity and conciliatory speech. However, the secession crisis marked a transition away from this shared unifying rhetoric toward the expression of regional exceptionalism. Increasingly, both Philadelphians and Charlestonians understood themselves and their respective governments to be specially anointed by God. Accordingly by the end of 1861, Charlestonian and Philadelphian Protestants described Christian duty as tied to serving the Confederacy or the Union.
- Masters Theses