By 1860, this chapter argues, white Ohioans and Kentuckians had articulated starkly different purposes for their religious organizations and laws. With Cincinnatians sometimes at the forefront and at other times in tow, Ohioans rendered their faiths and constitution into notably antislavery positions and had begun to undo prejudicial laws afflicting African Americans. As Ohioans injected a “freedom national” philosophy into their most powerful institutions, Kentuckians sensed risk. In reaction, slaveholders there tried to purge the state of its emancipationist sentiments by diminishing Louisvillians’ electoral influence and by restricting the growth of a free black population. Though Ohioans insisted on the immediate rupture of property rights in persons upon contact with its soil, Kentuckians gave new divine clout to those same property rights. Before 1849, these sectional positions had not needed to be staked out so clearly. After that year, this chapter argues, Ohio and Kentucky risked increasing sectional alienation to further their positions on the morality of slavery.
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