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Religion as a Controlling Force During Slavery The Turner Rebellion and Thomas Bacons Sermon to Maryland Slaves 1749 During antebellum religion in many cases was used as a tool to control people an institution of empowerment Preachers conformed individuals to their views simply by backing their message with either signs from God or the word of God the Bible Nat Turner and Thomas Bacon are two prime examples of preachers that did just this Thomas Bacon oppressed slaves during the eighteenth century by preaching a comprehensive view of the slaves duties and responsibilities in the eyes of God1 Nat Turner on the other hand preached a message of signs he had received from God in order to conform fellow slaves to rise up and rebel against their current position in society In both cases those preachers used religion as a means of empowerment Thomas Bacon Sermon to Maryland Slaves 1749 Thomas Bacon was a preacher notorious for conforming slaves to think of themselves as creation of God placed on earth for a purpose That purpose was to assist and work for masters and mistresses that provide for them2 In Bacons Sermon to Maryland Slaves 1749 he preached a message to black slaves to basically stay in line Bacon begins his sermon by hyping himself up as a messenger watchman and steward of the great Lord3 This makes his audience of slaves look at him as not just a white man preaching his interpretation of the bible but a divine individual preaching the word of the most powerful force in the world God Bacon then becomes friendly with his parishioners after he establishes his position of power by saying my dear black brethren 1 Butler Religion in American History 74 2 74 3 75 and sisters I beg that you will listen seriously to what I say You all know what love and affection I have for you
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