On October 13, we will be discussing the role of Christianity in the civil war. In addition to Allitt chapter seven, I offer two critical documents we will be discussing:

 

1. MINE EYES HAVE SEEN THE GLORY (BATTLE HYMN OF THE REPUBLIC)

 

To illustrate the frame of mind of this time, I quote some of the best known lines in American literature, the Hymn "Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory", the unofficial anthem of the North during the civil war. Read the words and tell me: what are the religious ideas underlying this? How would you describe them? What parts of the Bible are they drawn from? What is the song about? Why did it have such an amazing effect in galvanizing Americans to go off to fight the South?

 

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;

He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;

He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword;

His truth is marching on.

 

Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!

Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! His truth is marching on.

 

I have seen Him in the watch fires of a hundred circling camps

They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps;

I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps;

His day is marching on.

 

Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!

Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! His day is marching on.

 

I have read a fiery Gospel writ in burnished rows of steel;

As ye deal with My condemners, so with you My grace shall deal;

Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with His heel,

Since God is marching on.

 

Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!

Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Since God is marching on.

 

He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;

He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment seat;

Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him! be jubilant, my feet;

Our God is marching on.

 

Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!

Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Our God is marching on.

 

In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,

With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me:

As He died to make men holy, let us live to make men free;

While God is marching on.

 

Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!

Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! While God is marching on.

 

He is coming like the glory of the morning on the wave,

He is wisdom to the mighty, He is honor to the brave;

So the world shall be His footstool, and the soul of wrong His slave,

Our God is marching on.

 

Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!

Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Our God is marching on.

 

Words: Julia Ward Howe, 1861

Music: Originally "John Brown's Body," composer unknown

 

This hymn was born during the American Civil War when Howe visited a Union Army camp on the Potomac River near Washington, DC. She heard the soldiers singing the song "John Brown's Body" and was taken by the strong marching beat. She wrote the words next day.

Quote:

"I awoke in the grey of the morning, and as I lay waiting for dawn, the long lines of the desired poem began to entwine themselves in my mind, and I said to myself: "I must get up and write these verses, lest I fall asleep and forget them."

So I sprang out of bed and in the dimness found an old stump of a pen, which I remembered using the day before. I scrawled the verses almost without looking at the paper."

 

2, ABRAHAM LINCOLN - SECOND INAUGURAL ADDRESS - SATURDAY, MARCH 4, 1865

 

  Weeks of wet weather preceding Lincoln's second inauguration had caused Pennsylvania Avenue to become a sea of mud and standing water. Thousands of spectators stood in thick mud at the Capitol grounds to hear the President. As he stood on the East Portico to take the executive oath, the completed Capitol dome over the President's head was a physical reminder of the resolve of his Administration throughout the years of civil war. Chief Justice Salmon Chase administered the oath of office. In little more than a month, the President would be assassinated.

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Fellow-Countrymen:

 

  AT this second appearing to take the oath of the Presidential office there is less occasion for an extended address than there was at the first. Then a statement somewhat in detail of a course to be pursued seemed fitting and proper. Now, at the expiration of four years, during which public declarations have been constantly called forth on every point and phase of the great contest which still absorbs the attention and engrosses the energies of the nation, little that is new could be presented. The progress of our arms, upon which all else chiefly depends, is as well known to the public as to myself, and it is, I trust, reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all. With high hope for the future, no prediction in regard to it is ventured.      1

 

  On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it, all sought to avert it. While the inaugural address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war, urgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without war—seeking to dissolve the Union and divide effects by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish, and the war came.  2

 

  One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union even by war, while the Government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it. Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or even before the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. "Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh." If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether."        3

 

  With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.