Faith was an important aspect of society during the mid-19th century. While the vast majority of Americans at the time considered themselves Christian, there were differing beliefs within the various Christian denominations and regions of the country; the issue of slavery and the right to enslave another person ranking very high among the differences. During the period leading up to the Civil War sermons were frequently printed and distributed in much the same way a periodical such a newspaper or magazine. Indeed, it was not unusual for printed sermons to have a larger distribution and readership than regional newspapers and often were included in the newspapers of the day. In this section are several sermons that were instrumental in shaping the reactions to events and views on slavery.
There were sermons given in the North which were rebutted in the South with a counter sermon. The early 1800's in the West was a period marked by new thought and interpetation of scripture, some of which lead to Unitarianism and Humanism. With much of the abolition movement in the North rooted in Unitarian congregations, in the South the message was often rejected because of the messenger. Note: the term "unitarian" was used to indicate a non-triun God, essentially rejecting the Deity of Christ as one with the Father and the Holy Spirit.