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Title:Strangers, foreigners, and fellow citizens: Case studies of English missions to the Indians in colonial New England and the Middle Colonies, 1642-1755
Author(s):Hedges, Andrew H.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):McColley, Robert
Department / Program:History
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):History, Church
History, United States
History, Modern
Abstract:Over the course of America's colonial history, a number of English missionaries sought to convert the Native Americans to Christianity. Many efforts were made in New England and the Middle Colonies, where Puritans, Congregationalists, Presbyterians, Baptists, and Quakers worked to save native souls. Working from an "Indian viewpoint," some historians of these missions have concluded that these English missionaries were racist, and that they worked in concert with other colonists to convert the natives and divest them of the "last vestige" of their traditional culture. Moreover, several historians have concluded that those Indians who did convert to Christianity did so in an effort to preserve their ethnic identity and enhance their traditional culture, and that the Indians' loyalty to their traditional ways undermined the missionaries' efforts more than any other factor. Evidence from the missions of John Eliot, the Mayhews, John Sergeant, and David and John Brainerd does not support these conclusions. Missionaries were neither racists nor segregationists, were frequently at odds with their fellow colonists, and encouraged the Indians to continue speaking their native tongue. Evidence also suggests that the Indians converted for far more personal reasons than historians have suggested, and that many natives became deeply committed, both emotionally and intellectually, to Christianity over time. Finally, evidence suggests that the Indians' proclivity for European rum and similar problems undermined the missionaries' efforts far more than the natives' loyalty to "traditional" ways.
Issue Date:1996
Rights Information:Copyright 1996 Hedges, Andrew H.
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9712302
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9712302

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