Document Type



American Studies | History | United States History


This essay shows how Scottish Common-Sense rationalism and evangelical religion conjoined in the later eighteenth century to create a powerful, mutually-reinforcing “Evangelical Enlightenment” with powerful antislavery implications. The defeat of Napoleon in 1815 cleared the way for an unprecedented wave of socially-progressive, religiously-undergirded American nationalism. This threat stimulated slaveholders and their allies to defend the institution through strategies designed to preclude the alliance of a powerful national state with the sanction of religion—the only combination powerful enough to overthrow slavery in a free republic.


Permission is granted to post "Slavery and the Evangelical Enlightenment" on the University of Connecticut Library website for individual downloads. (University of Georgia Press, Ref. 7997, 7/26/2012)

Forbes, Robert P. "Slavery and the Evangelical Enlightenment." Religion and the Antebellum Debate Over Slavery. Eds. John R. McKivigan and Mitchell Snay. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1998. 68-106. Print.