Date of Award

January 2012

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Department Name when Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Carolyn Renee Dupont

Department Affiliation



This thesis is an examination of the effects of anti-slavery and church schism among Protestant Christians in the Bluegrass region of antebellum Kentucky. A variety of secondary and primary sources are utilized, including books and journal articles from current scholarship, journals kept by historical actors, books, letters, and articles, written during or some years after the time under consideration, as well as publications of churches and denominations. Throughout the antebellum years, churches and denominations in the United States fractured over disagreements on slavery and theology. Pastors, such as James Pendleton and Peter Cartwright, endeavored to keep Christianity vibrant and relevant to the lives of Kentuckians in spite of the troubled cultural, political, and religious environment of the nineteenth century. They also endeavored to prevent the worst examples of northern abolitionism and southern pro-slavery agitation from becoming common in Kentucky. Through their efforts, Christianity in antebellum Kentucky was characterized by moderation on the slavery question and responsiveness to the needs of believers.