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From its founding in 1837 the board sent over 450 missionaries to at least nineteen diverse and widely separated Indian tribes, with a goal of uplifting them into the Protestant tradition of Christian civilization. These zealous men and women sent back thousands of detailed and often highly personal letters from the Indian field, and this book is based primarily upon that store of correspondence.
Seeking to fill the need for critical case studies of individual missionary organizations, this book depicts the missionaries as cultural revolutionaries in the deepest human sense. Moved by a nearly absolute ethnocentrism, they denounced almost every aspect of tribal culture. Among the Indians they found virtually nothing worth incorporating into the codes of Christian civilization. Yet these missionaries resisted racial explanations for what they saw as Indian failings and retained a conviction that individual tribal members were both eligible for eternal salvation and capable of attaining citizenship in the United States.
In this book the author places the work of the Board of Foreign Missions in a historical context and presents the goals, methods, backgrounds and motivations of the missionaries. He also examines the cluster of ideas which constituted the Presbyterian definition for Christian civilization.
|Publication Date||November 26, 2007|
|Primary Category||History/United States - 19th Century|