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Religions 2018, 9(8), 235; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9080235

A Prelude to Civil War: The Religious Nonprofit Sector as a Civil Means of Debate over Slavery, Christian Higher Education, and Religious Philanthropy in the Stone-Campbell Movement

Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 46202, USA
Received: 8 May 2018 / Revised: 26 May 2018 / Accepted: 5 July 2018 / Published: 1 August 2018
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Abstract

This paper examines the role of Christian higher education and religious philanthropy in the debate over slavery prior to the Civil War. Competing religious views regarding slavery led to the founding of Indiana’s abolitionist Butler University. The school’s decision to brazenly support the cause of abolition directly conflicted with the leadership of The Disciples of Christ and mired the Indianapolis school in one of the most impassioned debates about the role of religious practice in civic life in the nineteenth century. In this case, the religious nonprofit sector functioned as battlefield upon which competing forces engaged in a form of civil conflict. An examination of the role of Butler University’s philanthropic action provides fresh insight into the debate over slavery brewing on the eve of Civil War and the way individuals use philanthropic institutions, especially religious institutions, as a means to assert their values within society. Research for this study has employed primary archival research of documents held at Butler University, Christian Theological Seminary, and The Indiana Historical Society. The author has consulted period specific newspapers, journals, and handwritten documents. The author has also employed a host of secondary resources ranging from academic journals and religious histories to personal interviews and literature on the State of Indiana. View Full-Text
Keywords: religion; higher education; philanthropy; Civil War; abolition; slavery religion; higher education; philanthropy; Civil War; abolition; slavery
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Austin, T.S. A Prelude to Civil War: The Religious Nonprofit Sector as a Civil Means of Debate over Slavery, Christian Higher Education, and Religious Philanthropy in the Stone-Campbell Movement. Religions 2018, 9, 235.

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