Protestant Reformers as Progressivist: A Case Study of the Native American "Reformers", 1883-1907.


This paper seeks to integrate the current studies on Progressive reformers. In 1970, historian Peter G. Filene insisted that various reforms in the Progressive era didn't consider as one group, "Progressivist" because these reformers had never had a common interest: each reform parties had cooperated these reforms "temporally" for their particular concern. After his theory, many social historians wrote about various reforms in this era. But they scarcely used the term "Progressivist" and never consider these reforms as a unit.

Therefore, I try to challenge his theory by giving an eye to the Protestant reformers, who consist of the clergies and the laities in the New England and the Atlantic States, and to their commitment to the various reforms. From the foregoing studies, they haven't been considered as major actors and actresses on Progressive reform because historians haven't paid attention to their participation to many different kinds of reforms. For reconsideration of this defect, this paper investigates attendants of Native American reform conference, "Lake Monk Conference of the Friends of the Indian" to indicate Protestant reformer's commitment to various reforms in this era.

As a result, two facts emerge. First, these attendants were also manifold outstanding reformers in the United States: educational reformers of African-Americans, immigrant reformers, anti-Catholicism agitators, urban moral reformers, and American colony's reform, etc. Second, in every these reforms, they always considered their "reform targets" as inferior in race and dealt as that.

These analyses show that we should reconsider various reformers as one group, "Progressivist" if we want to understand the entirety of these reform movements in this era.