American Heathens

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In the 19th-century debate over whether the United States should be an explicitly Christian nation, California emerged as a central battleground. Racial groups that were perceived as godless and uncivilized were excluded from suffrage, and evangelism among Indians and the Chinese was seen as a politically incendiary act. Joshua Paddison sheds light on Reconstruction's impact on Indians and Asian Americans by illustrating how marginalized groups fought for a political voice, refuting racist assumptions with their lives, words, and faith. Reconstruction, he argues, was not merely a remaking of the South, but rather a multiracial and multiregional process of reimagining the nation.