Sectionalism is "the dark cloud that is now overhanging the country"
A. H. H. Boyd, Thanksgiving Sermon, Delivered in Winchester, Va. . . . (Winchester, Va.: Office of the Winchester Virginian, 1860), 12–14. Collections of the Library of Virginia.
On November 29, 1860, three weeks after Abraham Lincoln was elected president of the United States, Presbyterian minister Andrew Hunter Holmes Boyd, of Winchester, preached a Thanksgiving sermon. Boyd denounced Northern politicians who had created an unwholesome spirit of sectionalism in the United States. Since the 1840s, the nation's Presbyterians, Baptists, and Methodists had divided into factions based in large part on whether they condoned or opposed slavery. Boyd told his congregation, "In the North, under the influence of a wretched fanaticism, men are found who glory in the idea, that this Union may soon be dissolved. They would rather that every strand should be broken, and the country be deluged in blood—brother waring against brother—than that domestic servitude should continue to exist in the South."