Papist Patriots: The Making of an American Catholic Identity

Hardcover | December 7, 2011

byMaura Jane Farrelly

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"The persons in America who were the most opposed to Great Britain had also, in general, distinguished themselves by being particularly hostile to Catholics." So wrote the minister, teacher, and sometime-historian Jonathan Boucher from his home in Surrey, England, in 1797. He blamed "oldprejudices against papists" for the Revolution's popularity - especially in Maryland, where most of the non-Canadian Catholics in British North America lived. Many historians since Boucher have noted the role that anti-Catholicism played in stirring up animosity against the king and Parliament. Yet, in spite of the rhetoric, Maryland's Catholics supported the independence movement more enthusiastically than their Protestant neighbors. Not only didMaryland's Catholics embrace the idea of independence, they also embraced the individualistic, rights-oriented ideology that defined the Revolution, even though theirs was a communally oriented denomination that stressed the importance of hierarchy, order, and obligation. Catholic leaders inEurope made it clear that the war was a "sedition" worthy of damnation, even as they acknowledged that England had been no friend to the Catholic Church. So why, then, did "papists" become "patriots?"Maura Jane Farrelly finds that the answer has a long history, one that begins in England in the early seventeenth century and gains momentum during the nine decades preceding the American Revolution, when Maryland's Catholics lost a religious toleration that had been uniquely theirs in theEnglish-speaking world and were forced to maintain their faith in an environment that was legally hostile and clerically poor. This experience made Maryland's Catholics the colonists who were most prepared in 1776 to accept the cultural, ideological, and psychological implications of a break fromEngland.

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"The persons in America who were the most opposed to Great Britain had also, in general, distinguished themselves by being particularly hostile to Catholics." So wrote the minister, teacher, and sometime-historian Jonathan Boucher from his home in Surrey, England, in 1797. He blamed "oldprejudices against papists" for the Revolution'...

Maura Jane Farrelly is Assistant Professor of American Studies at Brandeis University, where she also directs the Journalism Program. She received her PhD in History from Emory University. For seven years, she worked as a full-time reporter, first for Georgia Public Radio in Atlanta and then for the Voice of America in Washington, DC...

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Kobo ebook|Aug 28 2013

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Papist Patriots: The Making of an American Catholic Identity
Papist Patriots: The Making of an American Catholic Ide...

Kobo ebook|Jan 2 2012

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:304 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:December 7, 2011Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199757712

ISBN - 13:9780199757718

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. The English Origins of American Catholicism2. Prescience, Pluralism, and Profit3. Inconsistencies and Consequences4. Catholic Commitment in an Inhospitable Climate5. The Inconsistency of Intolerance6. Papists Become Patriots

Editorial Reviews

"Distinguished by impressive research and a well-written, lively narrative, Farrelly's study will change the way historians think about Catholics in colonial America. The author argues that the foundation for the making of an American Catholic identity rests in Maryland's 1649 Act of ReligiousToleration. Over time, Maryland's Catholics became more American than English so that by the 1770s these Papists had become ardent Patriots. By endorsing the republicanism and individualism of the independence movement they created an American Catholic identity that has endured into the twenty-firstcentury." --Jay P. Dolan, Professor Emeritus of History, University of Notre Dame