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Christian ImperialismConverting the World in the Early American Republic$
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Emily Conroy-Krutz

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780801453533

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801453533.001.0001

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Hierarchies of Heathenism

Hierarchies of Heathenism

(p.19) Chapter 1 Hierarchies of Heathenism
Christian Imperialism

Emily Conroy-Krutz

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions's global vision and the ways that it imagined the rest of the world, particularly through the formation of what it calls a “hierarchy of heathenism” that helped the Board decide where to send missionaries and when. It first considers how both push and pull factors brought American evangelicals into the foreign mission movement before discussing the importance of civilization in the hierarchy of heathenism envisioned by the Board. It then discusses the American missionaries' use of evangelical and commercial information networks to determine whether certain places in Asia were potential recipients for evangelization efforts. It also analyzes the Board's missions to the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii), Holy Land, and Africa. Finally, it explains how the hierarchy of heathenism brought together the American missionaries' ideas about culture, race, and religion with the geopolitical realities of the world in which they lived to rationalize space and help them to go about the work of converting the world to Christianity.

Keywords:   race, American missionaries, American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, heathenism, evangelicals, mission movement, civilization, information networks, evangelization, Christianity

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