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From the earliest days in the New World through the disputed presidential election of 2000, the influence of Catholics on American politics has followed a peculiar arc. In Colonial America, Catholics were often denied participation in the process; but in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the Catholic bloc was recognized as a swing vote that determined the outcome of numerous elections; and today Catholics are either so assimilated or disunited that as a group their impact is declining.
George J. Marlin, author of Fighting the Good Fight: A History of the New York Conservative Party (St. Augustine's Press, 2003), here traces the political and electoral history of American Catholics from the time of Lord Baltimore and the founding of Maryland to the election of George W. Bush. It is an inspiring story of ethnic Catholics who arrived on America's shores with only the clothes on their back, worked through their parishes and neighborhoods to overcome nativist bigotry, and became a significant voice in local, state, and national political affairs.
Along the way we meet heroes and villains of this rich and diverse narrative, who unified, courted, and hated America's Catholic voters:
* Aaron Burr who wooed New York's fledging Catholic population to carry the state that put Thomas Jefferson over the top in the election of 1800;
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