Religious Liberties

Religious Liberties : Anti-Catholicism and Liberal Democracy in Nineteenth-Century U.S. Literature and Culture

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In the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, U.S. literary and cultural productions often presented Catholicism not only as a threat to Protestantism but also as an enemy of democracy. Focusing on representations of the Catholic as a political force, Elizabeth Fenton argues that U.S. understandings of religious freedom grew partly, and paradoxically, out of a virulent anti-Catholicism. Depictions of Catholicism's imagined intolerance and cruelty allowed U.S. writers time and again to depict their nation as tolerant and free. As Religious Liberties shows, anti-Catholicism particularly shaped U.S. conceptions of pluralism and its relationship to issues as diverse as religious privacy, territorial expansion, female citizenship, political representation, chattel slavery, and governmental partisanship. Religious Liberties examines a wide range of materials-from the Federalist Papers to antebellum biographies of Toussaint Louverture; from nativist treatises to Margaret Fuller's journali
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Product details

  • Hardback | 192 pages
  • 162.56 x 236.22 x 22.86mm | 430.91g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195384091
  • 9780195384093
  • 2,130,374

Table of contents

Table of Contents ; Acknowledgements ; Introduction: Privacy, Pluralism, and Anti-Catholic Democracy ; 1. Catholic Canadians and Protestant Pluralism in the Early Republic ; 2. Pleas for Democracy: Federalism, Expansionism, and Nativism ; 3. Papal Persuasions: Religious Conversion and Deliberative Democracy ; 4. This is My Body Politic: Catholic Democracy and the Limits of Representation ; 5. Haitian Catholicism and the End of Pluralism ; 6. Losing Faith: Ultramontane Liberalism and Democratic Failure ; Afterword ; Index
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Review quote

The author's thesis is that anti-Catholicism was one, if not the, defining factor in the development of American national identity from the Revolution to at least the end of the 19th century. She cites numerous authors of fiction and politics to illustrate her thesis, and she concludes that anti-Catholicism eventually revealed the limits and innate contradictions of American liberal democracy... This book provides ample justification for her thesis and is a pleasure
to read. * The Heythrop Review *
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About Elizabeth Fenton

Assistant Professor of English at the University of Vermont.
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