Event Title

The Role of the KJB in the Formation of American National Identity

Location

Room A

Start Date

1-10-2011 10:45 AM

End Date

1-10-2011 12:00 PM

Abstract

In the nineteenth century, America was still a young nation with its national identity just taking shape. With the development of its political system, continued expansion into the ever-receding frontier, and the influx of European immigrants, the country faced many opportunities and challenges to the maintenance of its democratic values. Although characterized as a land of religious liberty, the country struggled with how to apply this concept in its move toward a unified sense of nationhood. Within the context of rapid growth, education represented a valuable means of inculcating a shared system of distinctly American values. Desiring more than intellectual advancement for all American children, Protestant champions of common schools recognized the potential for providing civic education, which would help form dutiful and moral Americans. Advocates such as Horace Mann supported curricula with particularly Protestant values, historical interpretation, and use of the King James Bible. The noteworthy growth of the Catholic population in the first half of the century created a particular challenge for promoting American identity as Protestant. The strong Protestant influence on common school education generated controversy, particularly in New York in 1841 under the leadership of Archbishop John Hughes. The use of the King James Bible and the presentation of Protestant views of church history and doctrine in common school classrooms prompted Hughes to urge his fellow Catholics to oppose these schools as institutions that undermined their religious liberties. Thus, the King James Bible served both as a tool for forming national identity as well as point of controversy for American Catholics.

Comments

Brandi Marchant is a GSA and will complete her M.A. in History at Liberty in 2012. She distinguished herself as Liberty University’s "Most Outstanding History Student" of 2009-2010. Earning her B.S. in history, she graduated with honors as well as Summa Cum Laude.

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Oct 1st, 10:45 AM Oct 1st, 12:00 PM

The Role of the KJB in the Formation of American National Identity

Room A

In the nineteenth century, America was still a young nation with its national identity just taking shape. With the development of its political system, continued expansion into the ever-receding frontier, and the influx of European immigrants, the country faced many opportunities and challenges to the maintenance of its democratic values. Although characterized as a land of religious liberty, the country struggled with how to apply this concept in its move toward a unified sense of nationhood. Within the context of rapid growth, education represented a valuable means of inculcating a shared system of distinctly American values. Desiring more than intellectual advancement for all American children, Protestant champions of common schools recognized the potential for providing civic education, which would help form dutiful and moral Americans. Advocates such as Horace Mann supported curricula with particularly Protestant values, historical interpretation, and use of the King James Bible. The noteworthy growth of the Catholic population in the first half of the century created a particular challenge for promoting American identity as Protestant. The strong Protestant influence on common school education generated controversy, particularly in New York in 1841 under the leadership of Archbishop John Hughes. The use of the King James Bible and the presentation of Protestant views of church history and doctrine in common school classrooms prompted Hughes to urge his fellow Catholics to oppose these schools as institutions that undermined their religious liberties. Thus, the King James Bible served both as a tool for forming national identity as well as point of controversy for American Catholics.