American Catholic Voter, The

978-1-58731-023-2c 978-1-58731-029-4p
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400 pages, 6" x 9", introductions, notes, bibliography, index

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American Catholic Voter, The

200 Years of Political Impact

Marlin, George J.

From the earliest days in the New World through the disputed presidential election of 2000, the influence of Catholics on American politics has followed a peculiar arc. In Colonial America, Catholics were often denied participation in the process; but in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the Catholic bloc was recognized as a swing vote that determined the outcome of numerous elections; and today Catholics are either so assimilated or disunited that as a group their impact is declining.

George J. Marlin, author of Fighting the Good Fight: A History of the New York Conservative Party (St. Augustine’s Press, 2003), here traces the political and electoral history of American Catholics from the time of Lord Baltimore and the founding of Maryland to the election of George W. Bush. It is an inspiring story of ethnic Catholics who arrived on America’s shores with only the clothes on their back, worked through their parishes and neighborhoods to overcome nativist bigotry, and became a significant voice in local, state, and national political affairs.

* Along the way we meet heroes and villains of this rich and diverse narrative, who unified, courted, and hated America’s Catholic voters:

* Aaron Burr who wooed New York’s fledging Catholic population to carry the state that put Thomas Jefferson over the top in the election of 1800;

* Andrew Jackson and Henry Clay’s dueling over the Catholic votes in key battleground states of Pennsylvania and New York;

* New York’s Archbishop John Hughes mobilizing Catholic voters to fend off bigoted nativist attempts to deny them their rights as citizens;

* The anti-Catholic election tactics of U.S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, and James Garfield to mobilize nativist voters;

* The “Rum, Romanism and Rebellion” controversy that derailed James G. Blaine’s presidential campaign and swung enough Catholic votes to elect Grover Cleveland in one of America’s closest elections.

* Inner-city Catholic politicians battling Protestant Evangelicals, Reformers, and Eugenicists during the Gilded Age;

* The presidential campaigns of Al Smith and John F. Kennedy and the anti-Catholic tactics employed to discredit them;

* The post-Vatican II cultural wars that drove ethnic Catholics into the arms of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan;

* The rise of the cafeteria Catholic voter and his impact on the political process.

“Nobody knows more about the history of Catholic voters than George Marlin. His book is always informative and sometimes a downright revelation. I learned things about politicians, Catholic and otherwise, I never knew, and The American Catholic Voter is certain to be an instant classic.” – Brad Miner, author of The Compleat Gentleman: The Modern Man’s Guide to Chivalry and The Concise Conservative Encyclopedia.

George J. Marlin is Chairman and C.O.O. of The Philadelphia Trust Company, and author or editor of several books, including Fighting the Good Fight (St. Augustine’s Press), and is general editor of the forty-six-volume Collected Works of G.K. Chesterton. He has written for such periodicals as National Review and The American Enterprise, and The New York Times, New York Post, and New York Daily News.

Michael Barone, senior writer for U.S. News and World Report, renowned broadcast and print journalist, is author of many books, including the authoritative Almanac of American Politics and The New Americans.