Lost Tribes Found
Israelite Indians and Religious Nationalism in Early America
Published by: University of Oklahoma Press
Imprint: University of Oklahoma Press
Some white Protestants, Mormons, American Jews, and Indigenous people constructed nationalist narratives around the then-popular idea of “Israelite Indians.” Although these were minority viewpoints, they reveal that the story of religion and nationalism in the early United States was more complicated and wide-ranging than studies of American “chosen-ness” or “manifest destiny” suggest. Telling stories about Israelite Indians, Dougherty argues, allowed members of specific communities to understand the expanding United States, to envision its transformation, and to propose competing forms of sovereignty. In these stories both settler and Indigenous intellectuals found biblical explanations for the American empire and its stark racial hierarchy.
Lost Tribes Found goes beyond the legal and political structure of the nineteenth-century U.S. empire. In showing how the trope of the Israelite Indian appealed to the emotions that bound together both nations and religious groups, the book adds a new dimension and complexity to our understanding of the history and underlying narratives of early America.
“Lost Tribes Found is an essential contribution to both the broad field of early American religious studies and the more particular study of religious nationalism. It offers a fresh perspective on stories of Israelite American origins, which persisted, despite all the evidence running counter to their claims, into (and in some corners beyond) the nineteenth century.”—Early American Literature