American -- the Cherokees and Christianity, 1794-1870: Essays on Acculturation and Cultural Persistence by William G. McLoughlin and Edited by Walter H. Conser Jr

By Prucha, Francis Paul | The Catholic Historical Review, April 1996 | Go to article overview

American -- the Cherokees and Christianity, 1794-1870: Essays on Acculturation and Cultural Persistence by William G. McLoughlin and Edited by Walter H. Conser Jr


Prucha, Francis Paul, The Catholic Historical Review


The Cherokees and Christianity, 1794-1870: Essays on Acculturation and Cultural Assistance. By William G. McLoughlin. Edited by Walter H. Conser, Jr. (Athens: University of Georgia Press. 1994. Pp. x, 347. $45.00.)

The late William G. McLoughlin, long-time professor at Brown University, is well known for his important studies on American revivalism and other religious topics. He wrote, as well, a number of masterly volumes about the Cherokee Nation and its relations with white society, particularly the Protestant missionaries who came to the nation in the nineteenth century. This posthumous volume is a collection of recent essays, drawn largely from the research done for the substantial Cherokee books. The essays were written for different purposes, and there is a good deal of overlapping and repetition; six of the eleven have been published before. The book, nevertheless, has an underlying theme: the process of acculturation between white Christianity and the native Cherokees in "the various stages of the Cherokees' cultural confrontation with Christian imperialism" (p. 4). The author hoped that his essays would have broader applicability, too, as "part of the long and complex concern of historians with the interaction between Christianity and culture" (p. 3).

Part I of the book, "The Missionaries: deals difficulty with the Cherokee-missionary encounter. McLoughlin divides the missionary societies that entered the Cherokee Nation into two groups. The Congregationalists of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions represented one group; the Baptists represented the other. McLoughlin nicely contrasts the positions of the two--the first, conservative and cautious about admitting the Indians to full participation in the church; the second, more liberal and open to traditional Indian ways. …

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