Primary Source Analysis – Episcopal Church. Diocese of Georgia. Bishop (1841-1866: Elliott)

Companion source paper for “The Propaganda of War. The South’s Misinformation Machine” by Misty Smith.  “Primary Source Analysis” by Misty Smith. Originally posted in HIS-330 on September 17, 2017, at Southern New Hampshire University.

“Episcopal Church. Diocese of Georgia. Bishop (1841-1866: Elliott) Address of the Rt. Rev.
Stephen Elliott, D. D., to the Thirty-Ninth Annual Convention of the Protestant Episcopal
Church, in the Diocese of Georgia. ,” Documenting the American South, accessed September
15, 2017, http://docsouth.unc.edu/imls/elliott39/menu.html.

 

Primary Source Analysis

Episcopal Church. Diocese of Georgia. Bishop (1841-1866: Elliott)

It is estimated that 2% of the population of the United States lost their lives in the War between the States.

History has proven that the War of the States had one primary cause that resonated loudly across the world: the right to own human beings as slaves. Propaganda before, during, and in the many long years that have passed since the end of the war can be attributed to explaining why the issue of slavery is often downplayed as the cause of war in the South. One primary source which this student will use in a research paper is the “Address of the Rt. Rev. Stephen Elliott, D. D., to the Thirty-Ninth Annual Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church, in the Diocese of Georgia.” Savannah: Power Press of John M. Cooper & Company, 1861.[1] The author, Rev. Elliott was born on August 31, 1806, in Beaufort, South Carolina and died on December 21, 1866, in Georgia.[2] Rev. Elliott was the first Bishop of Georgia from 1841-1866 and the only bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the Confederate States.[3]

The primary source document by Rev. Elliott is a collection of sermons and letters to his church and church leaders which explains why the Protestant Episcopal Church was in need of entering the political climate of the time. First, Rev. Stephen Elliott reminds the church that they are not only allowed to break away from the larger church that was a part of the United States but they were obliged to do so. He declared, “Amid the present confusion and distraction of the country, she can lift up clean hands and a pure heart and appeal to the God of Heaven that she has had no part nor lot, as a Church, in producing the strife which is rapidly marching to dip its feet in blood”[4] He reminds them of the history of when they broke away from the church of England and states that this is now once again required as the United States is no longer where they reside, “…that the necessity arises for some action on our part in view of the secession of the State of Georgia from the Federal Union, and of the formation, in connection with other States, of an independent government, to wit: “the Confederate States of America.””[5]

Rev. Elliott was the first Bishop of Georgia from 1841-1866

Furthermore, the source document shows the general beliefs of the time that slavery was not a means of abuse but one of salvation sent by God to slavery victims, “However the world may judge us in connection with our institution of Slavery, we conscientiously believe it to be a great missionary institution–one arranged by God, as he arranges all the moral and religious influences of the world, so that good may be brought out of seeming evil, and a blessing wrung out of every form of the curse…”[6] It was beliefs such as these that were spread throughout the South, that the slaves were only saved and educated by their masters, and that they would be condemned to intolerable conditions and even Hell if slavery were to end.[7] It was propaganda such as this which fueled many, including slaves, to join the Confederacy against the United States of America.

 

 

Footnotes:

  1. Stephen Elliott, “Episcopal Church. Diocese of Georgia. Bishop (1841-1866: Elliott) Address of the Rt. Rev. Stephen Elliott, D. D., to the Thirty-Ninth Annual Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church, in the Diocese of Georgia.” Documenting the American South.
  2. Archives of the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia, “Stephen Elliott,” Archives of the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Stephen Elliott, “Episcopal Church. Diocese of Georgia. Bishop (1841-1866: Elliott) Address of the Rt. Rev. Stephen Elliott, D. D., to the Thirty-Ninth Annual Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church, in the Diocese of Georgia.”
  5. Ibid.
  6. Ibid.
  7. Ibid.

Bibliography:

Archives of the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia. “Stephen Elliott.” Archives of the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia. Accessed September 15,

  1. http://archives.georgiaepiscopal.org/?page_id=229.

“Episcopal Church. Diocese of Georgia. Bishop (1841-1866: Elliott) Address of the Rt. Rev. Stephen Elliott, D. D., to the Thirty-Ninth Annual Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church, in the Diocese of Georgia. ,” Documenting the American South, accessed September 2017 http://docsouth.unc.edu/imls/elliott39/menu.html.

 





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