The Making of a Catholic President

Hardcover | January 15, 2009

EditorCasey

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The 1960 presidential election, won ultimately by John F. Kennedy, was one of the closest and most contentious in American history. The country had never elected a Roman Catholic president, and the last time a Catholic had been nominated--New York Governor Al Smith in 1928--he was routed inthe general election. From the outset, Kennedy saw the religion issue as the single most important obstacle on his road to the White House. He was acutely aware of, and deeply frustrated by, the possibility that his personal religious beliefs could keep him out of the White House. In The Making of a Catholic President, Shaun Casey tells the fascinating story of how the Kennedy campaign transformed the "religion question" from a liability into an asset, making him the first (and still only) Catholic president. Drawing on extensive archival research, including manynever-before-seen documents, Casey takes us inside the campaign to show Kennedy's chief advisors--Ted Sorensen, John Kenneth Galbraith, Archibald Cox--grappling with the staunch opposition to the candidate's Catholicism. Casey also reveals, for the first time, many of the Nixon campaign's efforts totap in to anti-Catholic sentiment, with the aid of Billy Graham and the National Association of Evangelicals, among others. The alliance between conservative Protestants and the Nixon campaign, he shows, laid the groundwork for the rise of the Religious Right. This book will shed light on one of themost talked-about elections in American history, as well as on the vexed relationship between religion and politics more generally. With clear relevance to our own political situation--where politicians' religious beliefs seem more important and more volatile than ever--The Making of a Catholic President offers rare insights into one of the most extraordinary presidential campaigns in American history.

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The 1960 presidential election, won ultimately by John F. Kennedy, was one of the closest and most contentious in American history. The country had never elected a Roman Catholic president, and the last time a Catholic had been nominated--New York Governor Al Smith in 1928--he was routed inthe general election. From the outset, Kennedy...

Shaun A. Casey is a Visiting Fellow at the Center for American Progress and Associate Professor of Christian Ethics and Director of the National Capital Semester for Seminarians at Wesley Theological Seminary. He lives in Fairfax, Virginia.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:304 pages, 9.41 × 7.25 × 0.98 inPublished:January 15, 2009Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195374487

ISBN - 13:9780195374483

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"Here's a retelling of the 1960 presidential campaign that every political junkie will find pure narcotic. Shaun Casey does a masterful job shedding new light on the religious dimensions of JFK's victory in a way that speaks to all the same debates we now have about the role of faith in politics and vice versa: themes from nearly 50 years ago that vibrate with relevance today."--Mike McCurry, former Press Secretary to President Bill Clinton "Shaun Caseys colorful storytelling and groundbreaking new research shed light on an election that changed forever the link between our secular creed, American democracy, and the faith of our political leaders. This is a fascinating book that will be talked about for years to come." --Senator John Kerry "Shaun Casey has made a rich contribution to understanding the critical role religion--and religious intolerance--played in the 1960 presidential election. With extensive research, admirable organization, and a clear style, he describes an extensive and well-organized web of anti-Kennedy activity that was barely mentioned in Theodore White's classic, The Making of a President, 1960. Readers will be surprised by what Casey has uncovered. This is a valuable book for anyone interested in presidential history and the interplay of religion and politics." --William Martin, author of With God on Our Side: The Rise of the Religious Right in America