While traveling to India in 1812 as part of the first cohort of foreign missionaries from the United States, Adoniram Judson and his wife, Ann Hasseltine Judson, decided to leave the Congregational faith of their New England sponsors and become Baptists. Their conversion is usually credited with giving U.S. Baptists an opportunity to join the nascent foreign missions movement, and the movement itself has often been attributed to a sense of national destiny among U.S. evangelicals. But rather than expressing confidence in their national identity, Baptist leaders emphasized their membership in a trans-Atlantic denomination. They relied on British connections as they negotiated their position within the missions movement as well as the religious landscape of the United States. In the years before and after Judson's conversion, U.S. Baptist leaders publicized their trans-Atlantic relationships as a way of enhancing the legitimacy of their denomination in New England, and they worked with British Baptists to increase American Baptist involvement in foreign missions. This essay examines how U.S. relationships with British Baptists and experiences with foreign missions ultimately helped shape American Baptists' sense of purpose as they found new roles alongside their British counterparts as well as other U.S. Protestants.


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pp. 568-600
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