Abstract

Abstract:

This essay examines the creation of a devoutly anti-Catholic president by a former Catholic priest and its use by a once socially and politically significant movement: American anti-Catholicism. In his 1885 memoir, Fifty Years in the Church of Rome, ex-Catholic priest Charles Chiniquy depicted himself as a confidant of President Abraham Lincoln; Chiniquy fashioned a president as opposed to Catholicism as he was to the spread of slavery. In so doing, Chiniquy formed a tale that has resonated with anti-Catholics from the Gilded Age well into the twenty-first century. I argue for increased attention to Chiniquy’s resilient narrative as an illustration of both the enduring role of conspiracy rhetoric in anti-Catholicism and the ongoing rhetorical power of a distorted Abraham Lincoln in the American memory.

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Additional Information

ISSN
2161-8534
Print ISSN
2161-8542
Pages
pp. 23-47
Launched on MUSE
2017-03-03
Open Access
No
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