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The Dulcet Tones of Christian Disputation in the Democratic Up-Country

The Dulcet Tones of Christian Disputation in the Democratic Up-Country ESSAY ...................... By Eugene D. Genovese ntebellum southerners had ample reason to consider themselves as religiously tolerant as any people in America. Certainly, the testimony of Catholics and Jews bore them out. Yet, according to prevalent Yankee opinion, the Old South stood as the very embodiment of bigotry. The facts simply did not matter. The frequent--and ludicrous--charges of religious bigotry did have a basis but not one readily suitable for the abolitionists, who themselves wallowed in antiCatholicism and related niceties. The plantation belt demonstrated the religious toleration that southerners prided themselves on, whereas the yeoman-dominated up-country provided grist for the mill of those who loved to denigrate the South. Throughout the South enormous crowds gathered to hear ferocious debates over predestination and free will, over infant and adult baptism, over rival forms of church polity, over theological and ecclesiastical matters, large and small. The wildest of political debates did not overmatch them in enthusiasm, partisanship, and coarse language. Consider this observation from Carrollton, Mississippi: when the Disciples of Christ and the Methodists went at each other in 1851, Sarah Watkins heard "as much stamping of feet and applauding as if they had been at a theater or some http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Southern Cultures University of North Carolina Press

The Dulcet Tones of Christian Disputation in the Democratic Up-Country

Southern Cultures , Volume 8 (4) – Nov 27, 2002

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2002 Center for the Study of the American South.
ISSN
1534-1488
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Abstract

ESSAY ...................... By Eugene D. Genovese ntebellum southerners had ample reason to consider themselves as religiously tolerant as any people in America. Certainly, the testimony of Catholics and Jews bore them out. Yet, according to prevalent Yankee opinion, the Old South stood as the very embodiment of bigotry. The facts simply did not matter. The frequent--and ludicrous--charges of religious bigotry did have a basis but not one readily suitable for the abolitionists, who themselves wallowed in antiCatholicism and related niceties. The plantation belt demonstrated the religious toleration that southerners prided themselves on, whereas the yeoman-dominated up-country provided grist for the mill of those who loved to denigrate the South. Throughout the South enormous crowds gathered to hear ferocious debates over predestination and free will, over infant and adult baptism, over rival forms of church polity, over theological and ecclesiastical matters, large and small. The wildest of political debates did not overmatch them in enthusiasm, partisanship, and coarse language. Consider this observation from Carrollton, Mississippi: when the Disciples of Christ and the Methodists went at each other in 1851, Sarah Watkins heard "as much stamping of feet and applauding as if they had been at a theater or some

Journal

Southern CulturesUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Nov 27, 2002

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