In Messianic Fulfillments Hayes Peter Mauro examines the role of
Christian evangelical movements in shaping American identity in the
seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. Focusing on
Christianity's fervent pursuit of Native American salvation, Mauro
discusses Anglo American artists influenced by Christian
millenarianism, natural history, and racial science in America.
Artists on the colonial, antebellum, and post–Civil War frontier
graphically projected their idealization of Christian-based
identity onto the bodies of American Indians.Messianic Fulfillments
explores how Puritans, Quakers, Mormons, and members of other
Christian millenarian movements viewed Native peoples as childlike,
primitive, and in desperate need of Christianization lest they fall
into perpetual sin and oblivion and slip into eternal damnation.
Christian missionaries were driven by the idea that catastrophic
Native American spiritual failure would, in Christ's eyes, reflect
on the shortcomings of those Christians tasked with doing the work
of Christian "charity" in the New World.
With an interdisciplinary approach drawing from religious studies
and the histories of popular science and art, Messianic
Fulfillments explores ethnohistorical encounters in colonial and
nineteenth-century America through the lens of artistic works by
evangelically inspired Anglo American artists and photographers.
Mauro takes a critical look at a variety of visual mediums to
illustrate how evangelical imagery influenced definitions of
"Americaness," and how such images reinforced or challenged
historically prevailing conceptions of what it means (and looks
like) to be American.