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Outside InThe Transnational Circuitry of US History$
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Andrew Preston and Doug Rossinow

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190459840

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190459840.001.0001

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American Protestant Missionaries, Moral Reformers, and the Reinterpretation of American “Expansion” in the Late Nineteenth Century

American Protestant Missionaries, Moral Reformers, and the Reinterpretation of American “Expansion” in the Late Nineteenth Century

Chapter:
(p.96) 5 American Protestant Missionaries, Moral Reformers, and the Reinterpretation of American “Expansion” in the Late Nineteenth Century
Source:
Outside In
Author(s):

Ian Tyrrell

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190459840.003.0006

This essay examines the American Protestant missionary expansion in the context of a global communications and transport system accelerating in the late nineteenth century through steamships, railroads, and, especially, telegraph cable networks. This was an era of globalization. The essay argues that, rather than technology itself, cultural perceptions of enhanced speed and connectivity were important in shaping missionary strategies and tactics. Rejecting a simple model of cultural imperialism, this essay proposes a model for how this expansion occurred as a reciprocal, transnational flow of influences feeding back into the United States, affecting mission board strategies and stimulating ecumenical thinking and even criticisms of Western expansion. This shift occurred under a growing American cultural and practical leadership of the Protestant mission field globally through numbers of missionaries and funds expended, and had implications for the role of missionaries as both instruments of state power and critics of imperialism.

Keywords:   transnational, communication, networks, missionaries, imperialism, globalization

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