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Excommunicated From the UnionHow the Civil War Created a Separate Catholic America$
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William B. Kurtz

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780823267538

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823267538.001.0001

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Slavery Divides the Church

Slavery Divides the Church

(p.89) 5 Slavery Divides the Church
Excommunicated From the Union

William B. Kurtz

Fordham University Press

Although many Catholics in the North disliked slavery during the antebellum period, they disliked abolitionism even more as a radical extremist movement threatening to tear the nation apart. With the exception of some important figures such as Orestes Brownson and Archbishop John Purcell, most Catholic leaders, editors, and civilians continued to oppose emancipation during the war. Prominent anti-abolitionist editors such as Patrick Donahoe and James McMaster attacked any Catholic who dared to support emancipation. Many Catholics believed the abolitionists were generally nativist, radical, and anti-Catholic and that emancipation was only prolonging the war effort. In the end and unlike many northern Protestant churches, the Catholic hierarchy did little to end slavery or care for the freedmen in the post-war South.

Keywords:   anti-abolitionist, anti-Catholic, Orestes Brownson, Patrick Donahoe, emancipation, James McMaster, nativist, John Purcell, radical, slavery

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