The American Jesuits: A History

By Raymond A. Schroth | Go to book overview

5
The New America

Into Missouri

The period in which the Jesuits reestablished themselves in the New World has been called the Age of Jackson, an era of growth and confidence in which America, having defeated Great Britain more decisively at New Orleans in the War of 1812, was born again—this time in the image of a democrat and frontiersman. It was the era of the industrial revolution, the factory, the urban immigrant and working man, the penny press—the birth of daily newspapers like the New York Sun, Herald, and Tribune—of a literary renaissance, and social and religious reform. Wagon trains went West, and the great moral issue was whether it is right for one human being to own another. The French aristocrat Alexis de Tocqueville traveled throughout the country for nine months in 1831-1832, ostensibly studying the prison system but also drawing conclusions about the relationship, or tension, between democracy and religion. Equality, he says in Democracy in America, tends to both isolate men from one another and to “lay open the soul to an inordinate love of material gratification. The greatest advantage of religion is to inspire diametrically contrary principles.”

The Society was restored very much in the manner it had been suppressed—gradually—as year by year each country that had expelled the Jesuits saw fit to bring them back. Three factors contributing to the restoration were the breakdown of the Bourbon opposition, the success of the Society in Russia where it had been protected, and the election of a new pope, Pius VII, who was determined to sanction the return. He did so on August 7, 1814, in the bull Sollicitudo Omnium Ecclesiarum. Historian Fr. William Bangert points out that in its absence the Society had missed the French Revolution and the rule of Napoleon Bonaparte, one of the great turning points in world history, and asks how well they would have weathered the storm.

In Europe, the restored Society often remained tied to the world

-58-

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The American Jesuits: A History
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Preface xi
  • Part I - In the Beginning 1
  • Prologue: The First Sight 3
  • 1: The World Scene 15
  • 2: The Maryland Tradition 21
  • 3: The Pioneers 28
  • Part II - Suppression and Return 47
  • 4: Death and Resurrection 49
  • 5: The New America 58
  • 6: A Nation and Faith Divided 77
  • 7: Schoolmasters and Preachers 86
  • 8: The Turning Point 102
  • Part III - Engaging the World 113
  • 9: The Social Question 115
  • 10: At War 131
  • 11: The Cold War 146
  • 12: The Golden Age 170
  • Part IV - The Modern Society Emerges 197
  • 13: Freedom from Fear 199
  • 14: The Arrupe Era 217
  • 15: Into the 21st Century 259
  • Notes and Sources 285
  • Select Bibliography 297
  • Index 307
  • About the Author 313
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