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New England Indians created the multitribal Brothertown and Stockbridge communities during the eighteenth century with the intent of using Christianity and civilized reforms to cope with white expansion. In Red Brethren, David J. Silverman considers the stories of these communities and argues that Indians in early America were racial thinkers in their own right and that indigenous people rallied together as Indians not only in the context of violent resistance but also in campaigns to adjust peacefully to white dominion. All too often, the Indians discovered that their many concessions to white demands earned them no relief.
Fea offers an even-handed primer on whether America was founded to be a Christian nation, as many evangelicals assert, or a secular state, as others contend. He approaches the title's question from a historical perspective, helping readers see past the emotional rhetoric of today to the recorded facts of our past. Readers on both sides of the issues will appreciate that this book occupies a middle ground, noting the good points and the less-nuanced arguments of both sides and leading us always back to the primary sources that our shared American history comprises.
The British Zion: Congregationalism, Politics, and Empire 1790-1850 by Michael A. Rutz
Drawing upon extensive archival research and a wide range of secondary sources, The British Zion traces congregationalist missionaries' involvement in domestic and colonial politics in early nineteenth-century Britain. As Michael A. Rutz ably demonstrates, evangelical nonconformists actively campaigned from both the Empire's metropolitan centers and its periphery to extend religious liberty and civil equality in Britain, open colonial territories to evangelization, abolish slavery, and secure civil rights for indigenous peoples. Moving beyond the dichotomizing pictures of evangelical missionaries as either the advance forces of colonial domination or innocuous humanitarians and educators, Rutz carefully examines the humanitarian and theological impulses of the missionary movement while critically examining its political, social, and cultural impact within the larger development of the British Empire.