Early in 1890 Tolstoy described America as "the country most sympathetic to me," suggesting sustained interest and understanding on both sides.  Tolstoy's most direct knowledge of America came from personal letters, occasional visitors, books by Americans, and subscriptions to several periodicals. The constant flow of letters from America often concerned religious and moral topics. Ordinary citizens as well as religious thinkers gave Tolstoy warm support for his new Christianity, which had dominated his thinking and writing for the previous decade. Ten years later he received a request for his views of America from the English author and critic, Edward Garnett (1868-1937), whose wife Constance had visited Tolstoy and was an important translator of his works. An American magazine had asked for an article on Tolstoy's novel Resurrection, which Garnett agreed to write if Tolstoy would provide some statement about the U.S. Assuming that Tolstoy held a negative attitude (not without reason, given the recent victory of militarism over pacifism in the Spanish-American War), Garnett suggested he address the topic of hypocrisy. Unexpectedly, Tolstoy responded with the same sympathy of a decade ago, now combined with gratitude, and qualified only by a note of disappointment. On the Fourth of July, 1900,  he wrote what has been called his "Address to Americans":
Letter 1: to Edward Garnett (July 4, 1900) 
Thank you for your letter of June 6th. When I read it, it seemed to me impossible that I could send any message to the American people.
But, thinking over it at night, it came to me that, if I had to address the American people, I should like to thank them for the great help I have received from their writers who flourished about the fifties. I would mention Garrison, Parker, Emerson, Ballou and Thoreau, not as the greatest, but as those who, I think, specially influenced me. Other names are--Channing, Whittier, Lowell, Walt Whitman--a bright constellation, such as is rarely to be found in the literatures of the world.
And I should like to ask the American people why they do not pay more attention to these voices (hardly to be replaced by those of Gould, Rockefeller, Carnegie, or Admiral Dewey) and continue the good work in which they made such hopeful progress.
My kind regards to your wife--and I take this opportunity of once more thanking her for her excellent translation of "The Kingdom of God is Within You."
Tolstoy came to write The Kingdom of God Is Within You (1893), the last major work in a series of religious and moral tracts, largely because of his correspondence with the sons of Garrison and with Adin Ballou, both preachers of non-resistance. Surprisingly, most of those who provided "great help"--and many of this "bright constellation"--were religious writers, several of whose names were already unfamiliar. Tolstoy's correspondence with these preachers as well as with a number of other American religious, philosophical, and political thinkers testifies to the breadth of their mutual sympathy.
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