This work examines the connection between evangelical religious beliefs and antebellum southern culture. Evangelical assumptions and ideas seemed not only to justify slavery and patriarchy, but these assumptions made comphrehensable life's mysteries and heartaches. Southerners thus had a moral, as well as a material, investment in their culture. As they came to believe that the Republican Party thretened that investment, the religiously-minded southerners could accept and support secession. This moral ardor underlay much southern martial ardor during the Civil War. Rather than treat religion as purely a set of formal rituals or as membership in a church, this work treats the religious assumptions, rituals and symbols as a part of culture.