Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Robert C. Kenzer

Second Advisor

Dr. John L. Gordon, Jr.


This thesis covers the involvement and influence of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South in Virginia during the Civil War. Because the Methodists were the largest religious denomination in the South at the onset of the war, the Church was in a position to offer support and to shape the opinions of the Confederate people. Using sermons, religious tracts, newspapers, and letters, this study demonstrates that the majority of the Church supported the Confederacy and its aims. It begins with a brief overview of Methodism in the United States and the Schism of 1844 and then explores the interaction of the clergy with soldiers and civilians, as well as Methodists ministers' justification for the war. The thesis also tracks the changing opinion of the Church on the issue of slavery, which moved from grudging acceptance of the institution to the belief that it was sanctioned by God.

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