National parks and the entire history of American environmentalism originate in the same traditions that produced much of evangelical Christianity in America.
Religion provided the foundations of education in nineteenth-century America. It motivated literacy and provided the means by which so many Americans learned to read and to think critically.
How was religion part of Abraham Lincoln’s world? Religious diversity in nineteenth-century Springfield, Illinois, reflected the dynamic religious landscape of America.
Abraham Lincoln has become the exemplary American enigma. His most intimate views remain beyond the historical record, which makes him available for whatever cause we wish to enlist his support for.
Reflections on the Women’s March of January 21, 2107, in Memphis, Tennessee. Will we begin to live differently, relate differently, adopt new perspectives and values because we marched?
The earliest detailed map of Yellowstone was likely a collaboration between Jesuit missionary Pierre-Jean De Smet and mountain man Jim Bridger. ♨
Mountain man Joe Meek’s first summer of fur trapping in 1829, which put him among the earliest of non-indigenous people to enter Yellowstone.
Recent posts about Custer’s defeat at the Little Bighorn; western mountain Indians traveling to St. Louis in 1831 to ask for religion; and religion in Yellowstone National Park. ♨
A Piegan hunting party took the Jesuit missionary Francis Kuppens to Yellowstone in 1866. Awestruck by the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, amazed by the steaming fountains of geysers erupting skyward and the brilliant colors of scalding hot springs, the young Black Robe understood the glory of a God who had created such a magical and mysterious land of wonders. ♨
The legend of the first Thanksgiving presents a beneficent, benign colonialism made possible by the hospitality and generosity of Indians not a bit bothered by these zealous sycophants come to claim the native homelands. Of course, the story we tell ourselves does not bother with how this all looked from the perspective of the Wampanoag people. ♨
Voters seem much more in agreement about national parks than just about anything else, but the politics of funding our parks have left them with an enormous backlog of “deferred maintenance.” As a nation we have not been very good at putting our money where our mouth is. The immeasurable value of national parks, though, more than justifies an investment in their future.
Christopher Columbus has become more symbol than historical person. The dreams that his memory inspires as well as the tragedies that resulted from his voyages remain part of our national tale.