The Spiritual Conversion of the Americas by James Muldoon
The conversion efforts of European Christian missionaries, both Catholic and Protestant, in the Americas during the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries form a single, continuous thread. From Columbus to the Puritans and beyond, Europeans arriving in the Americas virtually always included in the justification of their colonizing efforts the desire to convert the native peoples to Christianity, as their ancestors had been converted centuries earlier. These essays not only explain how vital these conversion efforts were to European expansion but also explore the effects of such conversion work on the Protestant Reformation that was raging in Europe. In addition to examining a wide range of conversion experiences, this volume also discusses the differences in the Protestant and Catholic conversion efforts, the ways in which the various Catholic religious orders approached potential converts, and the implications of Catholic attempts to convert English Protestants in the New World.
James Muldoon is professor emeritus of history at Rutgers University and is currently an invited research scholar at the John Carter Brown Library. He is the author or editor of seven books, most recently Identity on theMedieval Irish Frontier: Degenerate Englishmen, Wild Irishmen, Middle Nations (UPF, 2003).