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A balm for the times: the origins and evolution of the lost cause in the South Carolina low country, 1830-1876

@ University of Mississippi Libraries

Davis, Andrew Patrick


This study uses the concept of civil religion as a framework through which to examine the origins and early development of the Lost Cause in the South Carolina Low country. In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries as American colonists severed their ties with Great Britain and established an independent republic they likewise began forming a civil religion or a set of beliefs regarding the relationship between God and their incipient polity. Prophetic in nature the central tenets of this civil religion held that the Almighty proved actively involved in human history and that Americans represented an especially chosen people charged with carrying out the Gods will on earth. Throughout the decades of the antebellum era as sectional animosity surrounding the propagation of slavery escalated white Carolinians effectively appropriated the ideologies associated with the American civil religion in an attempt to rebuke northern recriminations as well as develop a divergent sectional identity that would lend credence to a growing separatist movement. After the election of Abraham Lincoln religious and secular leaders within South Carolina invoked the southern civil religion to justify and frame secession while simultaneously forging an ideological and cultural consensus. At the outbreak of the Civil War Confederate leaders continually espoused and disseminated the civil religion an effort to imbue their burgeoning nation with secular and spiritual significance while also providing citizens a lens through which to view and comprehend the conflicts ever-changing course. As the war progressed and white Carolinians were forced to endure escalating levels...
Created Date:
2019 01 01 T08:00:00 Z
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