Baptists and the American Civil War: April 2, 1861

SlaveryWhile Southern Baptist leaders, most of whom are slaveholders, are generally strong supporters of slavery and the Confederacy, common Baptists are more diverse. The differences among common Baptists are to a significant degree attributed to socio-economic factors; non-slaveholding whites tend to be poorer and less enthusiastic advocates of slavery, and Baptists are no exception.

Waitman T. Willey, lawyer and politician from Monongalia County, Virginia, today makes a speech to the Virginia State Convention addressing the inequity of taxation regarding slaves. The state of Virginia is divided between Union and Confederate sympathies, and eastern slaveholders seem to be gaining traction in advocating for secession:

“If these warlike appropriations mean anything—if we are to be involved in war, as I fear we shall be—where are you to find the men to fight your battles? Where will you get the strong arms to defend your slaves? From our glorious mountains of the West. . . . I wish to know whether Eastern gentlemen require us to submit all of our property to taxation, and fight the battles of the country too, while your property, which we are defending, is to be exempt from taxation?”

Source: Willey quote (link)