Catholicism and the Shaping of Nineteenth-Century America

Catholicism and the Shaping of Nineteenth-Century America

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Offers a series of fresh perspectives on America's encounter with Catholicism in the nineteenth-century. While religious and immigration historians have construed this history in univocal terms, Jon Gjerde bridges sectarian divides by presenting Protestants and Catholics in conversation with each other. In so doing, Gjerde reveals the ways in which America's encounter with Catholicism was much more than a story about American nativism. Nineteenth-century religious debates raised questions about the fundamental underpinnings of the American state and society: the shape of the antebellum market economy, gender roles in the American family, and the place of slavery were only a few of the issues engaged by Protestants and Catholics in a lively and enduring dialectic. While the question of the place of Catholics in America was left unresolved, the very debates surrounding this question generated multiple conceptions of American pluralism and American national identity.
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Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 7 b/w illus.
  • 113920274X
  • 9781139202749

Table of contents

1. Editor's preface S. Deborah Kang; 2. Introduction Jon Gjerde; 3. The Protestant conundrum Jon Gjerde; The Catholic conundrum Jon Gjerde; 4. Conversion and the West Jon Gjerde; 5. Schools and the state Jon Gjerde; 6. Protestant and Catholic critiques of family and women Jon Gjerde; 7. The American economy and social justice Jon Gjerde; 8. Epilogue S. Deborah Kang.
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Review quote

'... a nuanced examination of how Catholic and Protestant leaders' disagreements over a range of issues shaped antebellum society and how the lack of victory by either side shaped national identity long afterward.' John Dichtl, Indiana Magazine of History '... a thoughtful reconsideration of the mutually constitutive relationship between Christian and national identities in the antebellum United States.' Elizabeth Fenton, American Catholic Studies 'Gjerde's final book stands as a fine achievement that enhances our understanding of a critical juncture in the history of American pluralism and religious freedom.' Timothy D. Grundmeier, Journal of Church and State
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