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Contested LoyaltyDebates over Patriotism in the Civil War North$
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Robert M. Sandow

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780823279753

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823279753.001.0001

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“Patriotism Will Save Neither You Nor Me”

“Patriotism Will Save Neither You Nor Me”

William S. Plumer’s Defense of an Apolitical Pulpit

(p.168) “Patriotism Will Save Neither You Nor Me”
Contested Loyalty

Sean A. Scott

Fordham University Press

Sean A. Scott’s essay addresses the attitudes of Northern Protestant churches on issues of patriotism and loyalty. Scott examines the 1862 resignation of Presbyterian minister William S. Plumer whose Allegheny City, Pennsylvania congregation judged his pronouncements to be devoid of patriotic sentiment. Plumer’s was the rare case of a minister who placed strict separation between political and religious spheres. Scott depicts Plumer as a man of true Christian integrity, whose ouster demonstrates the complex impacts of the “politics of loyalty.” Scott’s study offers a counter to a historical consensus that depicts northern clergy as at best pro-war “cheerleaders.” His work offers an instructive case of a minister who fell outside the patriotic, Republican, emancipationist mould. Plumer’s ordeal also illustrates the challenges of clergy in the border-states who faced divided congregations and the scrutiny of civil and military authorities.

Keywords:   Patriotism, Pennsylvania, Politics, Religion

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