Such is the question posed at the Juvenile Instructor (a blog I just found that attempts to discuss Mormonism within the wider context of American history -- the blog's title is from a 19th-century Mormon periodical). The discussion there concerns the relative treatment of Mormonism by Charles Sellers, Sean Wilentz, and now Daniel Walker Howe in their respective treatments of the antebellum era, discussed further in John Turner's post below. The post concludes by asking: All of this leads to the question: how significant is Mormon history to the larger narrative of American history? Is Wilentz right in granting Mormonism just one paragraph in a 800-page book on antebellum American history? Or is Sellers (and possibly Howe) more accurate in devoting more time to Mormonism’s place in American history?
The post is well worth checking out as part of our discussion here of religion, the market revolution, and the antebellum era, as well as for those with a special interest in discussing Mormon history in more depth. And thanks for the links and references.
Also, this of interest on the same topic, from American Religious History:
Mormon-studies professorship is first in California
The Claremont Graduate University program will be led by Richard Lyman Bushman, a church elder, media commentator and author.
By Larry Gordon, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
October 30, 2007
Claremont Graduate University is establishing a new professorship in Mormon studies and hiring a prominent historian and biographer of the religion’s founder to fill that slot — starting the first such academic program in California and the second of its kind at a secular school nationwide.
Non-Mormon academics and Mormon church leaders described Claremont’s appointment of Richard Lyman Bushman, professor emeritus of early American history at Columbia University, as a significant advance in serious scholarship about the religion, which is growing quickly worldwide but also raising puzzlement and even hostility. (Click on link above for rest of article)