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Religion and American PoliticsFrom the Colonial Period to the Present$
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Mark A. Noll and Luke E. Harlow

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195317145

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195317145.001.0001

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Roman Catholics and American Politics, 1960–2004

Roman Catholics and American Politics, 1960–2004

Chapter:
(p.344) (p.345) 15 Roman Catholics and American Politics, 1960–2004
Source:
Religion and American Politics
Author(s):

Peter Steinfels

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195317145.003.0016

This chapter explores one of the groups that were once marginal in American political life, but which over the course of the twentieth century have become central. It details some of the extraordinary range of critical political issues and some of the remarkable figures in the divergent cast of characters found in recent Catholic history. In 1960, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the Democratic candidate, was elected the first Roman Catholic president of the United States. Forty-four years later, John Forbes Kerry, the Democratic candidate and the next Catholic nominated by either major party for the presidency, went down in defeat. In both cases, Catholicism emerged as an obstacle to election. However, the differences were dramatic—and they suggested some of the unforeseen twists and turns that have defined the relationship between Catholicism and American politics.

Keywords:   Catholic history, American culture, marginal groups, John Kennedy, John Kerry, election

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