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Providence and the Invention of the United States, 1607–1876

Providence and the Invention of the United States, 1607–1876


  • Date Published: July 2007
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521867887

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About the Authors
  • Nicholas Guyatt offers a completely new understanding of a central question in American history: how did Americans come to think that God favored the United States above other nations? Tracing the story of American providentialism, this book uncovers the British roots of American religious nationalism before the American Revolution and the extraordinary struggles of white Americans to reconcile their ideas of national mission with the racial diversity of the early republic. Making sense of previously diffuse debates on manifest destiny, millenarianism, and American mission, Providence and the Invention of the United States explains the origins and development of the idea that God has a special plan for America. This conviction supplied the United States with a powerful sense of national purpose, but it also prevented Americans from clearly understanding events and people that could not easily be fitted into the providential scheme.

    • A fresh approach to a very important question in American history
    • Demonstrates the British roots of an 'American mission,' a completely new story for many historians
    • Proves that Providential nationalism fell apart in the early republic under the pressure of racial diversity, and was then reassembled later
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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2007
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521867887
    • length: 352 pages
    • dimensions: 240 x 160 x 24 mm
    • weight: 0.618kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Britain, America, and the Emergence of Providential Separatism:
    1. Providence and the problem of England in early America
    2. 'Empires are mortal': the origins of providential separatism, 1756–1775
    3. 'Becoming a nation at once': providentialism and the American Revolution
    Part II. Providence, Race, and the Limits of Revolution:
    4. 'One glorious example': the limits of Revolutionary providentialism
    5. 'Deifying prejudice': race and removal in the early republic
    6. 'Divided destinies': the providential meanings of American slavery
    7. 'The regenerated nation': the Civil War and the price of reunion
    8. William Lloyd Garrison's complaint.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • American History to 1865
    • American History to 1877
    • American Literature to 1865
    • American Political Ideas
    • Christianity in America, 1600-1890
    • Colonial America to 1776
    • Colonial America to 1789
    • Early American Republic -- Graduate Seminar
    • Religion and American History: to 1877
    • Religion and Politics in America
    • Religion in America: to 1877
    • Religion in North America to 1900
    • U.S. History to 1877
    • Values in American Life
  • Author

    Nicholas Guyatt, Simon Fraser University, British Columbia
    Nicholas Guyatt is Assistant Professor of History at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, British Columbia. He has studied at Cambridge University (B.A., M. Phil.) and Princeton Univeristy (Ph.D.). This is his first academic monograph, but his fourth book; a work on apocalyptic Christianity will also be published in 2007. He writes about American history for the London Review of Books and the Nation.

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