History Matters series - Hope and Betrayal in the Age of the Early Republic

The Foreign Mission School in Cornwall, CT
Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Speaker: John Putnam Demos

American author and historian John Putnam Demos's most recent book, The Heathen School: A Story of Hope and Betrayal in the Age of the Early Republic is another compelling recount from a long line of his investigations into early American life and practice.

As the young United States looked beyond its shores, a group of eminent Protestant ministers formed a grand scheme for gathering the rest of mankind into the "redemptive fold of Christianity and 'civilization'." Its core element was a special school for "heathen youth" drawn from their homes around the world, including the Pacific Islands, China, India, and, more and more, the native nations of North America. After graduating, the plan was that they would return to join similar projects within their native populations. For some years, the school prospered and enjoyed a wide reputation. However, when two Cherokee students courted and married local women, public resolve — and fundamental ideals — were put to a severe test. The school born with the ideal of universal "salvation" plummeted into a controversy that exposed American racial attitudes and set off a chain of events that lead to the Trail of Tears.

The Heathen School has been nominated for the 2014 National Book Award. Demos was previously awarded the prestigious Bancroft Award for his book Entertaining Satan and the 1995 Francis Parkman Prize for his book The Unredeemed Captive: A Family Story From Early America. Other books include A Little Commonwealth: Family Life in Plymouth Colony, The Enemy Within: A Short History of Witch-hunting and Past, Present, and Personal: The Family and the Life Course in American History.

Several of Demos's books are available for borrowing to members of the Congregational Library and Archives.

Wednesday, March 25th
3:00 - 4:00 pm

Register through Eventbrite.

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