Abram Ryan, Orestes Brownson, and American Catholics during the Civil War and Reconstruction.



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This thesis explores how American Catholics reacted to the Civil War and Reconstruction and how those reactions influenced Protestant perceptions of Catholics. Orestes Brownson, a famous Northern convert, polemicist, and supporter of the Union, and Abram Ryan, a Southern poet, priest, and proponent of the Lost Cause, serve as case studies. Analyzing their writing and their reception among Protestant Americans, this thesis demonstrates how religious, racial, political, and even transatlantic developments fueled a Southern and Northern critique of Reconstruction of which Brownson and Ryan were an important part. At the same time, Catholic participation in shared national and sectional reunion and reconciliation also facilitated Catholic's integration into American society. This work focuses on Republican newspapers' praise for Northern Catholic loyalty and Abram Ryan's nationally successful promotion of the Lost Cause. Catholic Civil War Era ideas and actions were emblematic of and crucial to American debates over Catholicism's influence and future.