The second chapter looks at northern evangelicals in relation to the election of 1864. Although the war’s evolving aim, which now included emancipation, reflected northern white evangelicals’ misgivings regarding slavery, during 1864 many nevertheless downplayed slavery-related issues. The year began with high hopes surrounding Ulysses S. Grant’s promotion to lead all Union forces, but by late summer his Virginia campaign had stalled and precipitated much anxiety in the North. In the face of Democratic opposition and abolitionist criticism,mainstream evangelicals cast 1864 as the dénouement of the war, if not the nation’s entire history. The enhanced drama benefitted Lincoln, for the more desperate things appeared, the more desperately mainstream evangelicals supported him. Contrary to the desires of evangelical abolitionists, most northern evangelicals saw the election of 1864 as fundamentally about saving the Union.
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