"Waddell . . . has skillfully compiled portions of Bachman's writings on the title's three topics (the bulk of the text includes his work in natural history) along with some of his personal correspondence, showing him to be scientific, thoughtful, and still well worth reading."
—D. A. Lovejoy, Choice
“Waddell has put together an extensive collection of John Bachman’s writings. . . . The minister and naturalist may yet achieve some degree of recognition for the contributions he made to science and intellectual life in nineteenth-century America. . . . Waddell has done a valuable service to the history of science, the history of American religion, and American intellectual history in finding these writings, editing them, and arranging them for publication.”
“Waddell has done a great service by drawing our attention to an important figure. The result is a valuable resource for students and scholars of nineteenth-century American science, race, and religion.”
—Journal of Southern History
John Bachman (1790–1874) was an internationally renowned naturalist and a prominent Lutheran minister. This is the first collection of his writings, containing selections from his three major books, his letters, and his articles on plants and animals, education, religion, agriculture, and the human species.
Bachman was the leading authority on North American mammals. He was responsible for the descriptions of the 147 mammal species included in Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America, a massive work produced in collaboration with John James Audubon. Bachman relied entirely on scientific evidence in his work and was exceptional among his fellow naturalists for studying the whole of natural history.
Bachman also relied on scientific evidence in his Doctrine of the Unity of the Human Race. He showed that human beings constitute a single species that developed as varieties equivalent to the varieties of domesticated animals. In this work, perhaps his most significant accomplishment, Bachman stood nearly alone in challenging the polygenetic views of Louis Agassiz and others that white and black people descended from different progenitors.
Bachman was also an important figure in the establishment of Lutheranism in the Southeast. He wrote the first American monograph on the doctrines of Martin Luther and the history of the Reformation. Bachman served for fifty-six years as minister of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Charleston, South Carolina, and was one of the founders of Newberry College.
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