Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Messer, C. Peter

Committee Member

Phillips, K. Jason

Committee Member

Barbier, Kathryn M.

Committee Member

Damms, V. Richard

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access



Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of History


This dissertation examines the interdenominational pursuits of the American Presbyterian Church from 1758 to 1801 in order to demonstrate how the Church helped to foster both national and sectional spirit. I have utilized a variety of sources including: the published and unpublished work of both the Synod of New York and Philadelphia and the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States, as well as published and unpublished Presbyterian sermons, lectures, hymnals, poetry and letters. With these sources I argue that a self-imposed interdenominational transformation began in the American Presbyterian Church upon its reunion in 1758 and that this process was altered by the Church’s experience during the American Revolution. The resulting interdenominational goals had both spiritual and national objectives. As the leaders in the Presbyterian Church strove for unity in Christ and Country, I contend that they created fissures in the Church that would one day divide it as well as further the sectional rift that would lead to the Civil War.



United States History||Presbyterian Church||American Revolution||Interdenominationalism||Nationalism||Sectionalism||Eighteenth Century