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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 Remember the Civil War

Catholics Remember the Civil War

(p.144) 8 Catholics Remember the Civil War
Excommunicated From the Union

William B. Kurtz

Fordham University Press

In order to combat the continued presence of anti-Catholicism in late-nineteenth-century American society symbolized by the American Protective Association, Catholic veterans and apologists sought to use the war to argue for greater toleration for the faith in American society. They hoped to write positive accounts of their community’s contributions to the war that would show how much Catholics had done to save the Union, thus demonstrating the falsehood of accusations of Catholicism’s supposed incompatibility with American society, its values, and its democratic government. Irish Catholics took a prominent role in this endeavor, most famously in the construction of a monument to Father William Corby at Gettysburg. They also praised Catholic soldiers for their faith and courage, in particular celebrating the career of General William S. Rosecrans as a refutation of anti-Catholicism. Their efforts, however, had a limited audience and had little effect on the larger non-Catholic community.

Keywords:   American Protective Association, anti-Catholicism, Catholics, William Corby, Irish, William S. Rosecrans, toleration, Union, veterans

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