Ramparts began as a sedate Catholic lay quarterly in 1962, transformed itself into a mass-circulation and much-talked-about "radical slick" monthly, and died in 1975, upon facing the inevitable: mass-market magazines are paid for by advertisers, not readers. 1
During its heyday it created many stirs and spent much money but was never able to attract and retain enough advertising to keep afloat. It lasted as long as it did only because of the infusion of large amounts of money from wealthy liberals and because it attracted the kinds of reporters and editors that make for interesting journalism.
Edward M. Keating founded Ramparts with his own money and his own vision. A converted Catholic, he felt the church and Catholic publishing were failing in making a difference in the world, particularly among those outside the church. His first efforts were not directed toward a mass audience. Keating's Editorial Policy statement in the first issue serves to indicate what his magazine was for a time and to suggest how different this magazine was from the transformed Ramparts of just a few years later:
Ramparts is a journal published and edited by Catholic laymen that serves as a showcase for the creative writer and as a forum for the mature American Catholic.
Ramparts publishes fiction, poetry, art, criticism and essays of distinction, reflecting those positive principles of the Hellenic-Christian tradition which have shaped and sustained our civilization for the past two thousand years, and which are needed still to guide us in an age grown increasingly secular, bewildered, and afraid.