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Adam Jortner studies the transformation of religious and political life in the early United States. His book, The Gods of Prophetstown: The Battle of Tippecanoe and the Holy War for the American Frontier, examines the rise of the Shawnee Prophet Tenskwatawa and his new religion on the Indiana frontier in the 1800s. Jortner argues that Tenskwatawa’s religious vision created a new definition of community and power that ultimately coalesced into a viable political alternative for Native Americans in the Old Northwest. The book follows the creation of this movement and its fraught relationship with the new United States and Indiana’s ambitious territorial governor, William Henry Harrison. The relationship between the two men ultimately shaped the War of 1812 and the fate of the American frontier. Gods won the 2013 James Broussard Best First Book Prize from the Society of Historians of the Early American Republic (SHEAR).
Dr. Jortner has received fellowships from the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, the McNeil Center for Early American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, the Massachusetts Historical Society, the Kentucky Historical Society, and the Redd Center for Western Studies. He is working on a manuscript on the politics of miracles in the early republic.
Dr. Jortner can oversee graduate work on the Age of Jefferson, the War of 1812 and its aftermath, alternative religions in the United States, Native American religion and politics, Mormonism, Shakerism, witchcraft, antebellum American Jewry, frontier wars (1763-1832), the history of the supernatural and esoterica, and the American territories (1783-1858).
Dr. Jortner also runs the Alabama Seminar on Early America:
You can hear Dr. Jortner explaining the War of 1812 here:
- PhD, University of Virginia
- MA, University of Virginia
- The Gods of Prophetstown: The Battle of Tippecanoe and the Holy War for the American Frontier (Oxford University Press, 2011).
Last Updated: January 13, 2015