Moral Geography

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2003-06-01
  • Publisher: Columbia Univ Pr

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Moral Geographytraces the development of a moral basis for American expansionism, as Protestant missionaries, using biblical language and metaphors, imaginatively conjoined the cultivation of souls with the cultivation of land and made space sacred. While the political implications of the mapping of American expansion have been much studied, this is the first major study of the close and complex relationship between mapping and missionizing on the American frontier. Moral Geography provides a fresh approach to understanding nineteenth-century Protestant home missions in Ohio's Western Reserve. Through the use of maps, letters, religious tracts, travel narratives, and geographical texts, Amy DeRogatis recovers the struggles of settlers, land surveyors, missionaries, and geographers as they sought to reconcile their hopes and expectations for a Promised Land with the realities of life on the early American frontier.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrationsp. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Introductionp. 1
The Benevolent Design: Mapping the Landscapep. 15
Mappers and Missionariesp. 15
The Connecticut Land Company: Mappingp. 21
"In regard to the Heathen on our borders": Erasing the Nativesp. 32
The Connecticut Missionary Society: Missionizingp. 35
"Sprightly towns" and "numerous churches which gem the whole landscape": Spatial Nostalgiap. 41
"The most benevolent designs": Missionary Publicationsp. 47
Models of Piety: Protestant Missionaries on the Frontierp. 61
"I find I can preach, if I can ride": Missionary Lettersp. 66
"Difficulties inseparable to a family": Age, Marital Status, and Missionsp. 74
"I have no prospect of being popular": Social Status and Missionary Laborp. 77
"Book knowledge is not all": The Heart, Not the Headp. 81
"Born and raised in the woods": Homegrown Missionariesp. 84
The Moral Garden of the Western World: Bodies, Towns, and Familiesp. 90
"Nurseries of piety": Body, Town, and Familyp. 93
"A considerable phalanx of infidelity": Religious Rivalry and the Bodyp. 101
"Scattered promiscuously over the face of the country": Town Planning and Moral Orderp. 111
"One great step towards a state of barbarism": Family and Home Orderp. 120
Geography Made Easy: Geographies and Travel Literaturep. 127
Geography Made Easy: Mapping and Moralizingp. 130
Domestic Travel Narrativesp. 135
Fairy-Tale Reports: Western Reserve Travel Literaturep. 142
A Correct View: New Connecticut as the Promised Landp. 152
A Beacon in the Wilderness: Moral Inscriptions on the Landscapep. 157
The Oberlin Colony and Institutep. 159
Building Up Society: Missionary Institutionsp. 166
Ecclesiastical Outlawsp. 174
Moral and Spatial Orderp. 178
Conclusion: Moral Geographyp. 181
Notesp. 185
Bibliographyp. 217
Indexp. 235
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