Seeds of Division

Cassius Marcellus Clay.

In America, slavery was not always an issue that could be separated by the North and the South.

In the Early Republic, “critics of slavery had by no means all come from the North, nor were its few defenders necessarily southerners.” Daniel Walker Howe, What Hath God Wrought: Transformation of America, 1815-1848, 477. As a result, those in the North did not fear that slavery would divide the country into two sections, seeing that a portion of southerners appeared to support emancipation. Americans generally thought that the states would resolve these issues themselves. See id.

However, by the 1830s, religious gatherings had illustrated that the North and the South had very different perspectives on slavery. While northern biblical scholars “like Moses Stuart and Charles Hodge” became mainstays there, southerner abolitionists like “James Birney and Angelina Grimke” also gained influence for being different than their neighbors. See id. citing Kenneth Minkema and Harry Stout, “The Edwardsean Tradition and the Anti-slavery Debate,” JAH 92 (2005): 47-74.

Some, like Cassius Clay, the cousin of Henry Clay, would stay in Kentucky “and maintain an anti-slavery movement there.” Daniel Walker Howe, What Hath God Wrought: Transformation of America, 1815-1848, 477.

Ultimately, the divisions that were emerging in America were becoming clear in the communities in the North and South. By this time, religion was one of the fundamental activities of Americans, and it was a bond that held together most communities. Naturally, where a community had problems and concerns, those problems and concerns would come to light in church.

Regardless, the seeds were being sown for discontent and conflict between the North and South on the issue of slavery.

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