This paper looks at the funerary rituals of the Antebellum period and how while it might appear on the surface that the funerary practices of the Antebellum period were standardized, the truth is that there were many differences among the classes and races that were fueled by the changing face of religion. This paper examines the differences in Antebellum funerary rituals for slaves and free blacks, the middle class, and the upper the class and how these rituals were influenced by the effects of the First and Second Great Awakenings. For each of these classes the paper also notes how the rituals change from the pre-Antebellum to the Antebellum periods. The changes are most evident when it comes to the slave class, but there are still clear changes for the middle and upper classes. The slave class also exhibits higher levels of surface conformity than the other classes do as most of the changes were forced upon this class by the whites. The middle and upper classes were relatively similar and most of the differences for these classes lay in the amount of money that was available to spend on the elaborate rituals that were practiced. Most of these changes show evidence of a softening feeling towards the concept of death as the issue of making it into a good afterlife became less worrisome.

Semester/Year of Award

Fall 2015


Carolyn Renee Dupont

Mentor Professional Affiliation


Access Options

Restricted Access Thesis

Document Type

Bachelor Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Scholars

Degree Level



History, Philosophy, and Religious Studies

Department Name when Degree Awarded