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Papist Patriots: The Making of an American Catholic Identity Hardcover – January 6, 2012

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 324 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (January 6, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199757712
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199757718
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 1.1 x 6.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,699,707 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Farrelly offers a highly readable synthesis of early American Catholicism's origins with important nuances that elucidate the contours of Catholic identity formation that made it American." --Journal of Southern History

"A thoughtful and often surprising assessment of Catholicism and its fate in colonial Maryland, and how Catholic Marylanders became patriots in a deeply Protestant nation."
--John T. McGreevy, author of Catholicism and American Freedom: A History

"Farrelly's book is a tour de force in developing a new argument about the foundations of an American Catholic identity... [H]er lively style of writing... will make her text available to a wide reading audience." --Church History

"Maura Farrelly has a fresh and challenging perspective on the Americanization of Roman Catholicism, one that tracks its origins to early Maryland. Papist Patriots bears close reading by all students of American history and religion." -- Christine Leigh Heyrman, author of Southern Cross: The Beginnings of the Bible Belt

"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 Religious Toleration. 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-first century." -- Jay P. Dolan, author of In Search of an American Catholicism: A History of Religion and Culture in Tension

"Every so often a book comes along that presents a dramatically different interpretation of known historical facts in a way that is,well, convincing.This is one of those books...[this is] a book that will become a standard reference work on the history and historiography of American Catholicism." --The Catholic Historical Review

"A fresh look at Catholics in America...Well written, highly readable, and well researched."--CHOICE

"A lively account of the Catholic community in Maryland...The strength of the book lies in the author's ability to synthesize a vast array sources to recreate the political conditions that influenced the development of the Catholic community in Maryland...The author's original contribution lies in her thesis that Catholics began to view themselves as Marylandians instead of English in the period following the Glorious Revolution and in her potrayal of religious conditions in the community...A spirited debate will no doubt ensue."--American Catholic Studies

"Farrelly writes exceptionally well...Her readable style will make the book an apt choice for history courses. More generally, this now stands as one of the best books we have on colonial Maryland, and on early Anglo-American Catholicism."--American Historical Review

"Offers a perspective on Catholicism and patriotism that will be of interest to historians of religion in early America and historians of the Revolution alike."--Journal of American History

About the Author

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, and New York. She has also freelanced for NPR, PRI, and the BBC.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Stephanie A. Mann on June 4, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Maura Jane Farrelly sets out to explore the only Catholic colony authorized by the Stuart monarchs in New England, Maryland, and its history's effect on Catholics in Revolutionary America. Part of her purpose is to examine the issues of religious freedom and tolerance in Maryland before and after the fall of the Catholic Lords Baltimore, the Calvert fathers and sons who served as governors before the Glorious Revolution of 1688. The other argument she wants to make is that Maryland Catholics developed an independence from both English government and Church hierarchy control that prepared them to support the independence movement, even though they were not particularly welcomed by other founding fathers.

She succeeds completely with the first point, in my opinion. Tracing the legacy of English persecution of Catholics from the reign of Elizabeth I through to the strategies Catholic gentry and nobility developed to continue the practice of their faith, Farrelly aptly summarizes the history of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries in chapter 1, "The English Origins of American Catholicism".

Chapters 2 and 3 vividly recount the story of the Lords Baltimore and their efforts to found a colony in New England where Catholics would be free to practice their faith and priests would be able to serve them without fear of exile or death. Farrelly also pays adequate attention to affairs in England, like the Civil War, the Interregnum, the Restoration of the Monarchy, and finally, the Glorious Revolution. The fortunes of the Calverts in Maryland--and of religious freedom--rose and fell with those events.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Well-researched, well-written account of the struggles for equal rights for Catholics in colonial America. Fascinating and little-known history of disenfranchisement in the early days of the Republic.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is another piece to the puzzle... of colonial American history, and why we are what we are today. Our roots go back to Europe, and this book covers it well.
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2 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Peter P. Fuchs on December 31, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This book actually looks very interesting, and I would like to read it all some day, because the general idea is intriguing. But the Introduction gives some real pause, and one of the summary phrases used later really is the cat's meow for CYA sesquipedalianism. First it seems that Oxford University Press will just not give up on its apparently desperate desire to try to find some philosophy or history books that will prove their apparently dearly loved assumption. Namely, the bogus idea that the Catholic Natural Law tradition had anything to do with the philosophy of the Founders of this country. It is a mystery, at least to me, why the ye olde English university is so eager to bolster this false notion, about another country's history. In this book the attempt to bolster it comes right from the start, in the breezy interpolation of John Courtney Murray's ideas on the subject. As if Courtney Murray's views represented some sort of consensus for some group at the time, such that it could now be used as a sort of heuristic against which to argue and compare. This is just wrong. The view that Catholic Natural Law views had any real connection to the Founding visions was certainly NOT a consensus view anywhere, and NOT EVEN IN CATHOLIC ACADEMIA I hasten to add. So the author has just slipped it in from the start as if it were, and had been, a serious touchstone. No.

Still the author's distinction about Catholic identity is interesting, and makes me want to read further, someday. But the loaded and leading Introduction dampens my enthusiasm. "Cause even if the author supports the basic distinction, the Courtney Murray assumption against which it is set broadly and almost as raison d'etre, clearly never had the general societal heft in American society to make it such a touchstone.
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