Subject Area

History, Religion


This project asks: How did underlying religious worldviews inform the local, national, and global engagement of rural middle western Dutch communities in the nineteenth century, which are often characterized as isolated and provincial? More broadly, it queries, if the local, national, and global are united by this broad religious worldview, how does that transform our understandings of rural middle western ethnic enclaves and who contributed to the rich internationalism of the nineteenth century and from where?

Close examination of these rural middle western ethnic enclaves reveals not only an ambitious vision for building local institutions but also for extending Dutch influence throughout the American West and eventually the entire world. Major historiographical themes of immigration, settler colonialism, assimilation, Christian evangelism and global imperialism intersect in these communities. Rural Dutch settlers engaged within a global context in three crucial and interrelated realms: religion, ethnicity, and politics. Each of these three arenas affected life in rural America, captured the attention of the men and women who settled there, and justified their settler colonialist and imperialist agenda. They influenced residents’ daily lives, peppered their local newspapers, and oriented both internal and external community affairs. These interrelated influences collectively informed the posture of the rural settlements and their positions within broader regional, national, and international contexts.

Degree Date

Fall 12-19-2020

Document Type


Degree Name



Religious Studies


Ted A. Campbell

Second Advisor

Kate Carte

Third Advisor

Crista De Luzio

Fourth Advisor

Laurie Maffly-Kipp

Number of Pages




Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

Available for download on Wednesday, December 10, 2025