Rome in America: Transnational Catholic Ideology from the Risorgimento to Fascism

Rome in America: Transnational Catholic Ideology from the Risorgimento to Fascism

Rome in America: Transnational Catholic Ideology from the Risorgimento to Fascism

Rome in America: Transnational Catholic Ideology from the Risorgimento to Fascism

Synopsis

For years, historians have argued that Catholicism in the United States stood decisively apart from papal politics in European society. The Church in America, historians insist, forged an "American Catholicism," a national faith responsive to domestic concerns, disengaged from the disruptive ideological conflicts of the Old World. Drawing on previously unexamined documents from Italian state collections and newly opened Vatican archives, Peter D'Agostino paints a starkly different portrait. In his narrative, Catholicism in the United States emerges as a powerful outpost within an international church that struggled for three generations to vindicate the temporal claims of the papacy within European society. Even as they assimilated into American society, Catholics of all ethnicities participated in a vital, international culture of myths, rituals, and symbols that glorified papal Rome and demonized its liberal, Protestant, and Jewish opponents. From the 1848 attack on the Papal States that culminated in the creation of the Kingdom of Italy to the Lateran Treaties in 1929 between Fascist Italy and the Vatican that established Vatican City, American Catholics consistently rose up to support their Holy Father. At every turn American liberals, Protestants, and Jews resisted Catholics, whose support for the papacy revealed social boundaries that separated them from their American neighbors.

Excerpt

Limits on aristocratic competition for honor, glory, wealth, and power protected the corporate interests of Rome's governing class as well as the wellbeing of the people it ruled during most of the middle and late republic. What was remarkable about the republican system was the fact that the elite had to impose these controls upon itself, unlike monarchies in which the interests of a ruler always set firm boundaries to his or her subjects' self-aggrandizement. By and large, the aristocracy's efforts were successful. Limits allowed aristocratic rivalry to help Rome win an empire and yet enjoy stable government until quite late in the game. But in one respect this process might appear to have fallen seriously short—indeed, no attempt to insist on a limit seems evident at all—and that was in the republic's propensity to go to war. Warfare and conquest constituted the paramount arena for the display of aristocratic virtus and the acquisition of prestige as well as the more tangible benefit of great wealth. Generals and others who served the republic by defending its interests and enlarging its Imperium garnered laus and fama and laid the basis for a lasting auctoritas and often higher office. the aristocracy had an interest, therefore, in going to war often in order to provide its members with opportunities to advance themselves in the contention for eminence. But in allowing these competitive drives to be played out year after year in increasingly distant theaters of war, the aristocracy gradually undermined first the social and economic, then the military, and finally the civic foundations of the republic. Or so many historians aver. For nearly every scholar who has sought to explain the social and political turmoil of the Roman Republic's last hundred years has traced its origins to the impact of the city's secondcentury wars on Italy's small farmers —the men who manned the legions and furnished the army's allied contingents—when the city's demands for soldiers began to conflict fundamentally with the needs of husbandry.

Priorto 200 B.C. (or perhaps the Hannibalic War—opinions differ), conventional wisdom holds that war and agriculture blended together seamlessly. Campaigns were short, conducted close to home, and fought . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.