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A Point of Contention: The ABCFM Cherokee Mission, American Slavery, and the Definition of “Politics”

Columbia Theological Seminary is proud to be a co-sponsor of this virtual lecture presented by Dr. Emily Conroy-Krutz, Associate Professor of History at Michigan State University. This lecture is part of the Summer Lecture Series at Chieftains Museum/Major Ridge Home and is supported by Cherokee Presbytery.

“A Point of Contention” tells the story of ABCFM missionary resistance to Cherokee Removal in the face of their complex relationship to slavery in the Cherokee Nation. When ABCFM missionaries defended Cherokee sovereignty and opposed the Jackson administration’s implementation of Indian Removal, they had to navigate a complex debate over the political, religious, ethical dimensions of their activities. Their Jacksonian political opponents charged them with turning a political matter into a moral issue, while members of the emerging northern abolitionist movement criticized ABCFM missionaries for accepting Cherokee slaveholding as only a political question. As missionaries, Cherokee Christians, and missionary supporters argued over the place of slavery in the mission movement, they set out new—and narrow—definitions of “politics” and “religion.”

More information and registration available for this virtual lecture on the Chieftains Museum/Major Ridge Home website.

About Dr. Conroy-Krutz: Emily Conroy-Krutz, PhD is an Associate Professor of History at Michigan State University and the author of Missionary Diplomacy: Religion and American Foreign Relations in the Nineteenth Century (Cornell University Press, 2024), Christian Imperialism: Converting the World in the Early American Republic (Cornell University Press, 2015), and a co-editor of The Early Imperial Republic: From the American Revolution to the US-Mexico War (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2022). Her writings on foreign relations, religion, reform, empire, and gender have been published in leading academic journal and periodical, ranging from the Journal of the Early Republic to The Washington Post. She is the recipient of SHAFR’s 2021 Stuart L. Bernath Lecture Prize, the 2019 Jane Dempsey Douglass Prize from ASCH, and a 2018 China Residency from the OAH. Her research has been supported by fellowships from the Yale Divinity School Library, the Presbyterian Historical Society, the Schlesinger Library, the Charles Warren Center at Harvard, and the Humanities and Arts Research Program at Michigan State University.