Providence and the Invention of American History Sarah Koenig

Publication date:
27 Jul 2021
Yale University Press
296 pages: 235 x 156 x 22mm
9 b-w illus.
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How providential history—the conviction that God is an active agent in human history—has shaped the American historical imagination

Sarah Koenig traces the rise and fall of Protestant missionary Marcus Whitman’s legend, revealing two patterns in the development of American history. On the one hand is providential history, marked by the conviction that God is an active agent in human history and that historical work can reveal patterns of divine will. On the other hand is objective or scientific history, which arose initially in the pleas of Catholics and other racial and religious outsiders who resisted providentialists’ pejorative descriptions of non-Protestants and nonwhites.

Sarah Koenig is assistant professor of history at Ramapo College. She earned her joint Ph.D. in History and Religious Studies from Yale University. She was born and raised in Oregon and now lives in Waldwick, NJ.