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Southern Religion, Southern CultureEssays Honoring Charles Reagan Wilson$
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Darren E. Grem, Ted Ownby, and James G., Jr. Thomas

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781496820471

Published to University Press of Mississippi: September 2019

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496820471.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM Mississippi SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mississippi.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Mississippi, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MSSO for personal use.date: 15 July 2020

The Riverbank Politics of Uncommon Prayers in Antebellum Arkansas

The Riverbank Politics of Uncommon Prayers in Antebellum Arkansas

(p.19) The Riverbank Politics of Uncommon Prayers in Antebellum Arkansas
Southern Religion, Southern Culture

Ryan L. Fletcher

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter examines slavery and finance among Episcopalians in Arkansas. It reconsiders the historiographical paradigm that pairs the flourishing of evangelicalism with the declension of the Episcopal Church in the antebellum South. Evangelicalism's ascendancy neither caused nor signified the vanishing of Episcopalians in the antebellum South. Historians must remember that the Episcopal Church inherited centuries of Anglican expertise in imposing “supremacy” and “uniformity” upon dissenters. The southern frontier pitted disciplined Episcopalians united around slaveholding conservatism against antebellum evangelicalisms that suffered from bouts of classless consciousness, denominational cannibalism, emotional incontinence, and doctrinal dementia. Episcopalians armed with labor power remained ascendant in Arkansas until the Civil War because the identity politics of evangelicalism and white supremacy fragmented the common prayers of laboring people.

Keywords:   slavery, Episcopalians, Arkansas, evangelicalism, Episcopal Church, antebellum South, slaveholding conservatism, identity politics, white supremacy, labor power

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