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As early as the eighteenth century, New England's ministers were decrying public morality in jeremiads aimed at wayward colonists. Evangelical leaders such as Jonathan Edwards called for rulers to become spiritual as well as political leaders who would renew the people's covenant with God. The prosperous merchant Jonathan Belcher (1682-1757) self-consciously strove to become such a leader, an American Nehemiah. As governor of three royal colonies and early patron of the College of New Jersey (later Princeton University), Belcher became an important but controversial figure in colonial America.
An insightful blend of social and political history, this biography demands that Belcher be recognized as the embodiment of the Nehemiah, perhaps as important in his own realm as Cotton Mather was in religious circles. Grappling with the contradictions of Belcher's actions, the author explains much about the complexities of the world in which Belcher lived and wielded influence and, by weaving together social, religious, and cultural history, portrays in the career of Jonathan Belcher a richly detailed synthesis of the tumultuous late colonial period.
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Michael C. Batinski is associate professor of history at Southern Illinois University.
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Book Description University Press of Kentucky, 1996. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0813119464