A Catholic in the White House?: Religion, Politics, and John by T. Carty

By T. Carty

In accordance with various students and pundits, JFK's victory in 1960 symbolized America's evolution from a politically Protestant state to a pluralistic one. The anti-Catholic prejudice that many blamed for presidential candidate Alfred E. Smith's crushing defeat in 1928 ultimately looked as if it would were triumph over. although, if the presidential election of 1960 used to be certainly a turning element for American Catholics, how will we clarify the failure of any Catholic--in over 40 years--to repeat Kennedy's accomplishment? during this exhaustively researched research that fuses political, cultural, social, and highbrow background, Thomas Carty demanding situations the belief that JFK's profitable crusade for the presidency ended a long time, if now not centuries, of non secular and political tensions among American Catholics and Protestants.

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Extra info for A Catholic in the White House?: Religion, Politics, and John F. Kennedy's Presidential Campaign

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75 As the 1960 presidential campaign approached, therefore, the Kennedys appealed specifically to the religious and ethnic groups who had supported Al Smith so fervently in 1928. Rose Kennedy recalled that her husband viewed JFK’s prospects for higher office more optimistically after 1956. ’’ John Kennedy’s 1958 book A Nation of Immigrants consciously praised 46 A Catholic in the White House? America’s pluralistic ideal. Having worked in the Congress against immigration legislation that privileged white Europeans at the expense of Asians and Latin Americans, Kennedy now targeted the nativist roots of this religious and racial discrimination.

In 1956, John Kennedy’s aide Theodore Sorensen attempted to counter lingering nativist reservations about a Catholic presidential 44 A Catholic in the White House? 69 Citing journalist Samuel Lubell’s conclusion that Smith initiated a political ‘‘revolution’’ by mobilizing immigrant voters from religious and racial minority groups, Sorensen suggested that a Catholic vice-presidential candidate could help secure many Catholics, and thus many important electoral votes, in the 1956 campaign. ’’ While Democratic majorities among Catholic voters had consistently topped 65 percent, Republican President Dwight D.

Hoover, refused to exploit anti-Catholic attitudes for political gain, several Republicans—including Hoover’s wife—publicly and privately justified religious opposition to the Catholic candidate. The 1928 campaign also challenged Americans to consider the impact of a Catholic president on liberal and pluralist ideals. NonCatholic liberals debated the political significance of Smith’s Catholicism. Episcopalian lawyer Charles Marshall, the Christian Century, and the New Republic challenged Smith to explain Catholic dogma that contradicted the separation of church and state.

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