Church History

Research Article

The Role of the South in the Presbyterian Schism of 1837–38

Elwyn A. Smitha1

a1 Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

In 1927 William Warren Sweet observed that “the most important and far-reaching of the schisms in the American churches were caused by Negro slavery and the effects of the bitter contests in the churches over slavery, which began nearly a century ago, are still with us. Therefore any study of the peculiar factors which have determined the course of American church history must of necessity give a prominent place to slavery.” He himself pursued this suggestion in subsequent research.