Coupled with the fervor of Evangelical Revivalism, anti slavery movements in the Southern states were deeply influenced by religious institutions during the early to mid nineteenth century. Social networks assumed issues of social concern. In Faith, Presbyteries in Kentucky became the loudest voice for gradual emancipation, as a policy, accredited to Henry Clay. Even further, the spiritual community became a proponent of the Americanization of Africans in the Upper South. Kentucky's history follows thematically throughout the nineteenth century a push-pull equilibrium of steps forward and back, closer and farther away from emancipation. There is too often an over emphasis placed on personal biographies at the expense of assessing the historical significance of particular institutions, namely institutionalized religion. Of course without the membership and support of influential Americans the Kentucky Presbyterian Church would fail to maintain historical relevance. In its own right, nonetheless, the Church should be noted as a revolutionary body, responsible for its abolitionist modernity. Evidence suggests that in Border States of antebellum America a large faction of poor whites took stances against both the spread of and the contemporary existence of African slavery.
[...] With the hopes of limiting radicalism the moral aspects of slavery were differentiated from the question of civil disobedience. Following the Presbyterian Schism of 1837 the Old School remained more conservative than the New School. As an official slaveholding state the importance of religious institutional opposition to the practice in Kentucky epitomized a growing popular opposition. Churches provided a venue to exert opposition without becoming violently divisive to the social climate. Across the state in the early decades of the Nineteenth Century the popularity of movements against slavery stemmed, not from religious or moral reasons, but because the slave system itself was lessening in profitability. [...]
[...] Breckinridge and the Slavery Aspect of the Presbyterian Schism of 1837.” In Church History. Vol No (Dec., 1935), pp. 282-294. Posey, Walter, Brownlow. “Influence of Slavery upon the Methodist Church in the Early South and Southwest.” In The Mississippi Valley Historical Review. Vol No (Mar., 1931), pp. 530-542. Posey, Walter, Brownlow. Slavery Question in the Presbyterian Church in the Old South.” In The Journal of Southern History. Vol No (Aug. 1949). Schnell, Kempes. “Anti-Slavery Influence on the Status of Slaves in a Free State.” In The Journal of Negro History. [...]
[...] His stance is that, economic and social conditions of the frontier were antagonistic to slavery and favorable to the development of a democratic society.” Boyd believes that anti-slavery needed a venue of sponsorship which it found through the Presbyterian Church. This is exemplified by the lack of other institutional movements in Kentucky. Social bodies such as the Church were responsible for the most significant progress. The only record of a sovereign, state sponsored organization came following the height of the Presbyterians major achievements of equality. [...]
[...] “Influence of Slavery upon the Methodist Church in the Early South and Southwest.” The Mississippi Valley Historical Review. Vol No (Mar., 1931) Spears Kull Spears Edmund, A. Moore. “Robert J. Breckinridge and the Slavery Aspect of the Presbyterian Schism of 1837.” Church History. Vol No (Dec., 1935) Ibid Don, E. Fehrenbacher. Sectional Crisis and Southern Constitutionalism. Comprising South and Three Sectional Crises' and ‘Constitutions and Constitutionalism in the Slaveholding South'. (Baton Rouge, Louisiana State University Press, 1995) Winston, J. Coleman Jr. [...]
[...] As the leader of the Presbyterians in Kentucky he attempted to appease local concerns while maintaining and also promoting a moral standard. In his opinion, to hold a man enslaved to another, regardless of color was national vice and a monument to tyranny,” to continue, in contrast with the rights of man. He was concerned that the practice of slavery was damaging the white race, blurring the white man's moral understanding of justice and equality. This view was similarly held by many Kentuckians. [...]
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