Date of Award

Summer 8-18-2010

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

History

First Advisor

David Sehat

Second Advisor

H. Robert Baker

Third Advisor

Marni Davis

Abstract

The prevailing trend in the historiography of American Catholicism has been an implicit acceptance of the traditional liberal narrative as formulated by scholars like Louis Hartz. American Catholic historians like Jay Dolan and John McGreevy have incorporated this narrative into their studies and argue that America was inherently liberal and that the conservative Catholics who rejected liberalism were thus fundamentally anti-American. This has simplified nuanced and complex relationships into a story of simple opposition. Further, the social justice doctrine of the Catholic Church, although based on undeniably illiberal foundations, led conservatives to come to the same conclusions about social and economic reform as did twentieth-century liberal reformers. These shared ideas about social reform, though stemming from conflicting foundations and looking toward vastly different goals, allowed conservative Catholics to play a role in what are seen as some of the most sweeping liberal reforms of the twentieth-century.

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History Commons

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