A "scourge and minister" : Lyman Abbott, liberal Protestantism, and American warfare, 1861-1920.
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Wetzel, Benjamin James.
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Congregationalist minister and editor Lyman Abbott (1835-1922) is best known as a popularizer of modernist theology and as a representative of the Social Gospel movement. Less well understood are Abbott’s political opinions and philosophy. This thesis seeks to rectify this imbalance by examining Abbott’s writings concerning the three major American wars fought during his lifetime: the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, and World War I. In these three wars, Abbott strongly supported the United States and elevated each conflict to the status of a holy war. This thesis argues that the main reason Abbott supported these American wars was his refusal to distinguish between sacred and secular categories. Secondarily, it also argues that Abbott’s positions were common to liberal Protestantism as a whole during the period under consideration. Thus, the thesis fills a gap in the literature on Abbott and liberal Protestantism in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.