Chapter 8 & 10 Reflection
Chapter 8 and 10 contained a lot of information that was new to me. The extent to which religion shaped not just our cultural development, but that of the growing US itself was fascinating. For example, that early Protestant missions to Hawaii facilitated the annexation of Hawaii to bring it into the US. Religion even impacted the ecosystem of Alaska; Jackson introduced Siberian reindeer to ensure Aleut and Eskimo peoples would not starve in the face of a waning population of seal herds. I found it heartening that although missionaries have a bad reputation for ‘civilizing’ natives at all costs, McCoy respected the natives and was a driving force in establishing safe territory for natives and reducing deadly conflict between natives and the government. I also did not realize that Mormonism incorporated America, its settlers, and native people into a Divine Plan in the Book of Mormon; I can better understand why early converts chose to follow this brand-new religion as opposed to those with more history. I was surprised to read that from 1860-1890, 10 million immigrants arrived in the US, and the many ways in which their newfound religious freedom and the ethnic diversity within the religious immigrant populations lead to so many schisms, especially in Judaism (Reform, Orthodoxy, Conservative). I thought that many of these were ancient, rather than occurring as a response to modern factors. It was surprising that, unlike segregation in all other parts of life, voluntary religious segregation actually seemed to be constructive for African-Americans, who established their own publishing houses and strong social institutions through their church affiliations.