This thesis considers the influence of mainstream Protestantism on Civil War reconciliation. Through reconciliation, Northern and Southern residents came to forgiveness and comradery, moving beyond animosity. This has been a focus of historical research in the past two decades, but with particular attention to the resentment of veterans. With this, many scholars have overlooked the impact of other institutions of American society. This thesis addresses the issue by analyzing the effects of religious opinions on the perceptions that veterans and civilians held of their former enemies. Protestantism was the dominant faith of the nation, rivaling any organization of influence in America. With such preeminence, religion deserves recognition as an agent that reinforced negative feelings both during and after the war.

The goal of this thesis is also to expand on the limited historical research that has occurred on the subject to date. Few historians have researched the significance of religion in the process of Civil War reconciliation. With few researchers, the static conclusion has been that religion helped reconciliation as Northern and Southern whites found racial unity through religious events in the late nineteenth century. By contrast, this thesis shows how religion came to enflame the negative perceptions of white citizens. This thesis therefore offers a more exhaustive view on the subject as religion affected the psyche of citizens when remembering the war and their reunited neighbors.


Kathleen Gorman

Committee Member

Lori Lahlum

Committee Member

Angela Cooley

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)


Social and Behavioral Sciences

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License



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