American Religous Experience

John R. McKivigan and Mitchell Snay eds., Religion and the Antebellum Debate over Slavery. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1998. (Pp. viii, 391; $25.00 paper, $55.00 cloth)

      As the editors of this volume observe in the introductory essay, questions about religion and slavery could produce a multitude of responses, even among men and women who share essentially the same religious beliefs. Although some clergy favored militant abolition or else defended slavery, a large portion of the evangelical community found themselves somewhere between the abolitionists and pro-slavery forces. In this collection of essays, the various authors explore the many facets of slavery and religion in antebellum America. The work is especially valuable for its discussions of moderate antislavery men such as Leonard Bacon, Moses Stuart, or Francis Wayland, who were genuinely troubled by slavery, yet who refused to condemn all slave owners as damnable sinners. This book will be a valuable resource for people interested in the complexities of the debates over slavery.

Leo Hirrel

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