"Andrew's scholarly portrayal closes a gap in American biography and relates the life of an American activist practitioner of Protestant orthodoxy and his search for the 'soul of America.' Highly recommended."
"John A. Andrew III has produced a comprehensive study of Jeremiah Evarts. This volume is well written and well researched using Evarts's personal and family papers as well as records of the missionaries and government documents relating to Indian affairs. Although little material was available concerning Evarts's family life, Andrew has ably reconstructed the life of a man who placed the cause of religion and the Indians above all else. This work is an important addition to pre-removal and early American Republic literature."
—North Carolina Historical Review
"Based on an enormous body of research, this study links political ideology and Christian theology in a clearly written, logically organized narrative. [Andrew] captures the intellectual excitement and intensity of the age, and he conveys to a modern audience Evarts's passion for and commitment to his cause. Scholars of the early republic and the Jacksonian era as well as historians of religion should find much that is useful in the fine book."
—Georgia Historical Quarterly
"A welcome addition to the burgeoning literature on the religious and cultural history of the early republic."
—Journal of Southern History
Between the end of the Revolutionary War in 1781 and Andrew Jackson's retirement from the presidency in 1837, a generation of Americans acted out a great debate over the nature of the national character and the future political, economic, and religious course of the country.
Jeremiah Evarts (1781-1831) and many others saw the debate as a battle over the soul of America. Alarmed and disturbed by the brashness of Jacksonian democracy, they feared that the still-young ideal of a stable, cohesive, deeply principled republic was under attack by the forces of individualism, liberal capitalism, expansionism, and a zealous blend of virtue and religiosity.
A missionary, reformer, and activist, Jeremiah Evarts (1781-1831) was a central figure of neo-Calvinism in the early American republic. An intellectual and spiritual heir to the founding fathers and a forebear of American Victorianism, Evarts is best remembered today as the stalwart opponent of Andrew Jackson's Indian policies--specifically the removal of Cherokees from the Southeast.
John A. Andrew's study of Evarts is the most comprehensive ever written. Based predominantly on readings of Evart's personal and family papers, religious periodicals, records of missionary and benevolent organizations, and government documents related to Indian affairs, it is also a portrait of the society that shaped-and was shaped by-Evart's beliefs and principles.
Evarts failed to tame the powerful forces of change at work in the early republic, Evarts did manage to shape broad responses to many of them. Perhaps the truest measure of his influence is that his dream of a government based on Christian principles became a rallying cry for another generation and another cause: abolitionism.