By Adam Jortner
It all started with an eclipse. In 1806, the Shawnee chief Tenskwatawa ("The Open Door") declared himself to be in direct touch with the grasp of lifestyles, and as a result, the perfect non secular authority for all local americans. those that disbelieved him, he warned, "would see darkness come over the sun." William Henry Harrison, governor of the Indiana Territory and destiny American president, scoffed at Tenskwatawa. If he was once actually a prophet, Harrison taunted, permit him practice a miracle. And Tenskwatawa did simply that, making the sunlight cross darkish at noon. within the Gods of Prophetstown, Adam Jortner presents a gripping account of the clash among Tenskwatawa and Harrison, who ultimately collided in 1811 at a spot known as Tippecanoe. although principally forgotten this day, their competition made up our minds the way forward for westward growth and formed the struggle of 1812. Jortner weaves jointly twin biographies of the opposing leaders. within the 5 years among the eclipse and the conflict, Tenskwatawa used his religious management to forge a political pseudo-state along with his brother Tecumseh. Harrison, in the meantime, outfitted an influence base in Indiana, rigging elections and maneuvering for greater place. Rejecting bought knowledge, Jortner sees not anything as preordained-Native americans weren't inexorably falling towards dispossession and destruction. Deeply rooting his account in a new release of scholarship that has revolutionized Indian historical past, Jortner areas the non secular size of the fight on the fore, recreating the religious landscapes trod through both sides. The climactic conflict, he writes, was once as a lot a conflict of gods as of men.Written with profound perception and narrative verve, The Gods of Prophetstown recaptures a forgotten turning aspect in American historical past in time for the two hundredth anniversary of the conflict of Tippecanoe.
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Extra resources for The Gods of Prophetstown: The Battle of Tippecanoe and the Holy War for the American Frontier
34 The same event might produce opposite interpretations. . 37 In the immediate aftermath, however, providentialists drafted the darkness into divine instructions.
The Shawnees, who had never sold their land, responded by confiscating the settlers’ goods, and sometimes with violence. It was that conflict—the battle over the right of each tribe to own its own territory—that prompted the battle that cost Puckenshinwa his life. The conflict, known as Dunmore’s War (named after Virginian governor Lord Dunmore), was bloody. 27 It was not a long war. The Shawnees and their allies were pushed back across the Ohio River, the Long Knives occupied Kentucky, and Puckenshinwa died at the Battle of Point Pleasant.
The deist difference was one of emphasis and formulation. Reason was not simply a method of understanding religion, it was the method; indeed, reason was a divine gift that could unravel all the mysteries of religion. Jefferson’s advice to his nephew on the method of religious study was simple: “Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. ”19 This exaltation of the human mind joined American life and letters via the European Enlightenment. From Newton and the scientific revolution came the notion of immutable laws of nature, which human thought and observation might unravel, given time and effort.