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The essay tells the story of the "American Colony," a nonconformist commune of evangelical Protestants who settled in Jerusalem in 1881, from the perspective of American Studies. It argues that despite its many idiosyncratic features, this story can help elucidate a crucial aspect of Protestant America's narratives of national identity and of national entitlement in the postbellum era. It captures, that is, the regressive, feminized, eastward-towing theme that subtends these narratives' emphasis on progress, expansion, and a masculine thrust westward. This inherent duality in mainstream US nationalism is investigated in the main sections of the essay through a comparison between the writings of the American-born Colonists and Jerusalem by Selma Lagerlöf, a novel that tells the story of the Colony from the standpoint of Swedish nation formation.