Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Sally E. Hadden

Second Advisor

Dr. Brian C. Wilson

Third Advisor

Dr. Mitch Kachun


Civil War, religion, U.S. print journalism, reconstruction

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


The American Civil War had a profound effect on the minds of religious northerners during the Reconstruction Era that followed the war. Through church periodicals, members of the Methodist, African Methodist Episcopal, and Seventh-day Adventist churches demonstrated and expounded the various meanings they understood the war to contain. This thesis examines each denomination‘s flagship newspaper in order to categorize, describe, and contextualize the major themes of meaning attributed to the war within each church. The major themes that emerge closely reflect each church‘s sense of identity and purpose, such as viewing the war as punishment from God, purification in creating a Christian republic, a sign of the coming apocalypse, or as an indication of God‘s providence, respectively. These findings show the similarities between and diversity of three distinct denominations, and provide insight into post-war religious understandings of the American nation and its destiny.

Included in

History Commons