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Spiritual Geopolitics

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Reconsidering Religious and Political Boundaries in Seventeenth-Century Northeastern America

image of Journal of Early American History

This article is an attempt at reconceptualizing “Anglo-French relations” in seventeenth-century northeastern America by testing the concept of “spiritual geopolitics” (and its limits) in the case of the Anglo-French “interface” in northeastern America. Spiritual geopolitics is defined as the impact of confessional identities on geopolitical thinking and actions. Building on a binary religio-diplomatic context of the 16th and early 17th-century, the article first makes the case for Puritan spiritual geopolitics, consisting in a revision of familiar events through a new geopolitical lens. It then moves on to French anti-Protestant geopolitical thinking applied to North America, in particular in the second half of the century. While the first two sections argue that documentary evidence confirm “spiritual geopolitics” as a legitimate lens, the third section puts forward instances of religious border-crossing that plead in favor of a more nuanced, multilayered, concept of spiritual geopolitics in the period before the beginning of “Imperial Wars”.

Affiliations: 1: Université de Versailles—St Quentin-en-Yvelines,


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