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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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Catholics’ Opposition to the War

Catholics’ Opposition to the War

(p.108) 6 Catholics’ Opposition to the War
Excommunicated From the Union

William B. Kurtz

Fordham University Press

Anti-war Catholic opponents of the Republican-led war effort believed that the Lincoln administration had gone too far in converting what had been a conservative war to restore the Union “as it was” to trying to effect a radical and unconstitutional transformation of American society. They feared that the extraordinary measures the Republicans took to enforce the draft, end slavery, and curtail liberties foreshadowed a possible future attack on the Catholic Church itself. Many Irish Catholics took part in the bloody New York draft riots in 1863, violence which many Republicans and Protestants blamed on their religion as well as their politics. Catholic civilians by and large voted for the Democrats in 1864, further cementing their reputation as unpatriotic in the mind of pro-war northerners. For their part, Catholics responded in alarm when editor Horace Greeley assailed their patriotism and worried about the possibility of a future religious civil war.

Keywords:   1864, anti-war, Catholics, civil liberties, Democrats, New York draft riots, Republicans, unconstitutional, unpatriotic

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