Rev. Edwin J. Stanley’s 1873 tour of Yellowstone made him a witness to “the scepter of the irrepressible white man” in the divine right of Manifest Destiny.
The history of Freemasonry in Yellowstone National Park coincides with its role in a larger religious history of the American west as agents and evangelists for Manifest Destiny.
Has American exceptionalism ran its course? Perhaps we can become a nation of caring rather than a nation of conquest.
There has been a persistent sense among many Americans that national parks are special places, even sacred. It was Horace Albright, the second Director of the National Park Service, who said in 1930 that “Only God can create a national park.” Such theologically tinged interpretations, of course, borrow on the leftover patriotism of nineteenth-century Manifest Destiny. This story of the…