Birth of the American Indian Manual Labor Boarding School: Social Control Through Culture Destruction, 1820-1850

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This book argues that the roots of the manual labor boarding school for American Indian youth and the explanation for its development and spread are to be found in the ideology that gave also birth to the penitentiary.


“This book is long overdue. It adds significantly to the literature as well as to our understanding of the impact that these “schools” had on American Indian students, their “teachers,” and potentially on the larger picture of American Indian-European American settler relationships. Prior to this investigation, little was known about the schools designed for American Indian youth by Methodist, Baptist, Friends, and Catholic missionaries in what was then the U.S. West.” – Prof. Lin Huff-Corzine, University of Central Florida

“. . . makes an important methodological contribution to the social science literature by providing an impressive example of broad spectrum multidisciplinary social research. Written in a readily accessible narrative style allowing readers to appreciate the fundamental issues associated with problems of social control, this book has much to offer serious students and professional scholars.” – Prof. Leon Rappoport, Kansas State University
“While it is commonly understood that missionary efforts in the expanding west were often ideological efforts at justifying Anglo land grabbing, such efforts (until now) have not been located in the larger picture of American social and moral reform.” - Prof. Jerry Williams, Stephen F. Austin State University

Table of Contents

Foreword by Dr. Lin Huff-Corzine
1. The Transformation of the Ideology of Social Control
2. Ideal Institutions of Social Control
3. On the Historical Comparative Method and Case Study Analysis
4. Colonial Missions and Schools
5. The Birth of the Manual Labor Boarding School (1800-1820)
6. Removal to Indian Country (1820-1850)
7. Voices from Indian Country
8. Conclusions

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