Taylor, William Harrison, "'Made of One Flesh?': Revisiting the 1787 Slavery Policy of the Synod of New York and Philadelphia," in Faith and Slavery in the Presbyterian Diaspora (Bethlehem: Lehigh University Press, 2016), pp. 71-94.
PHS Call number: HT 917 .P7 F36 2016
The full article may be found in most university libraries.
William Harrison Taylor is a professor of history at Alabama State University and also teaches church history at Birmingham Theological Seminary in Montgomery, Alabama. His areas of focus are colonial and revolutionary America, social and intellectual history, and Anglo-American religion. In addition to co-editing Faith and Slavery in the Presbyterian Diaspora, Taylor wrote Unity in Christ and Country: American Presbyterians in the Revolutionary Era, 1758-1801 (2017).
1. Who wrote this source? When was it written? Why is it a secondary source, and not a primary source? Do you find it reliable?
2. Taylor starts off this article by summarizing recent scholarship on the subject of the 1787 Presbyterian Synod’s recommendation on abolition. What have those historians written about the recommendation (page 72)? What does Taylor want to add to that narrative, or change?
3. What were the Westminster Standards, and why were they so important to the Presbyterian Church in the British North American colonies at the time of the Revolutionary War (pages 72-73)?
4. What happened at the crucial 1758 reunion between the New York and Philadelphia synods? What new approach to dealing with conflicts did the two bodies develop (page 74)?
5. Taylor cites the sermons and writings of Benjamin Rush, James Armstrong, Jacob Green, and George Duffield at some length (pages 80-85). He also cites a popular pro-slavery booster, Henry Patillo (page 86). What argument is Taylor trying to support by referencing these contemporary voices on the subject of slavery?
6. Why did the Presbyterian church not do more to try to abolish slavery in the years after the Revolutionary War, according to Taylor?