This is a study of a brief but important phase of a problem very old in American history. Anti-Catholicism was brought to these shores by early settlers. The fear and hostility that created it, like Catholic antipathy for Protestantism, was a legacy of the sixteenth century. Anti-Romanism was rampant in the mid-nineteenth century, shortly before the Civil War. Despite occasional reappearances of the malady, it seemed improbable that it was destined for a revival in the twentieth century. Yet the third decade of the present century saw so great a resurgence of the old fear that a haunting suspicion lingers that anti-Catholicism may now be no more than dormant.
This book has its setting in a brief time-space not long after the Progressive movement reached its culmination. It was assumed that large-scale movements directed against Catholics belonged to the past. But so old an emotion as "No-Popery" proved responsive to a favorable climate. The nineteen twenties were such a time; the decade witnessed a freshening of the tree of bigotry and a harvest of bitter fruit. This demonstration of the vitality of the old hate came as a distinct shock to many Americans.
In 1918 Alfred E. Smith, a Catholic, became Gov