“Until the Great Sin…Has Been Removed”

Sean A. Scott

in A Visitation of God

Published in print December 2010 | ISBN: 9780195395990
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199866557 | DOI:
“Until the Great Sin…Has Been Removed”

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Many religious Northerners believed that God demonstrated his care for his chosen people by chastening them when they had sinned and disobeyed his laws. Slavery was one of those national sins, and devout civilians often asserted that God intended the war to destroy the peculiar institution. By the second year of war, many observers claimed that victories had been few because the government had failed to act decisively against slavery. President Lincoln, however, had determined to settle the matter by issuing the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. In contrast to most religious Northerners, he did not presume to know the mind of God but sounded a note of humble uncertainty regarding the Divine Will. The politicization of the pulpit continued as ministers promoted the war and claimed that God would preserve the Union, but some church members expressed concern that political interests had detracted from genuine spiritual vitality.

Keywords: fast day sermons; slavery; Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation; Abraham Lincoln

Chapter.  16657 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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