Publication Year

2001

Keywords

Christianity, the South, plantations, slavery, history

Disciplines

African American Studies | Christianity | Labor History | United States History

Abstract

Slavery in the United States is an area in history that has been thoroughly researched and interpreted. Historians have utilized diverse sources to develop differing arguments about slavery as an economic and cultural institution. In their paradigms, historians delve into the particulars of a slavery-based economics system or the social elements of the plantation life. This thesis relies on works that discuss slavery as a cultural, rather than economic institution, and will focus specifically on religion. The pages that follow will argue that Christianity was utilized by both the master and slave to form a unique and diverse master-slave relationship. The master manipulated the teaching of Christianity to form a submissive, obedient, and respectful slave. Slaves, however, utilized the fundamentals of Christianity to create hope in a world of darkness, and also to develop a unique slave community that was separate from their master. The process of organizing and developing this argument encompassed a variety of explorations into the foundational works of American slavery, the legitimacy of primary sources, the organization of plantations in North and South Carolina and its effect upon the slave-master relationship, and finally the ways masters and slaves used Christianity to serve their own distinct goals.

Department 1 Awarding Honors Status

History

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