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;
* Andrew Jackson and Henry Clay's dueling over the Catholic votes in key battleground states of Pennsylvania and New York;
* New York's Archbishop John Hughes mobilizing Catholic voters to fend off bigoted nativist attempts to deny them their rights as citizens;
* The anti-Catholic election tactics of U.S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, and James Garfield to mobilize nativist voters;
* The "Rum, Romanism and Rebellion" controversy that derailed James G. Blaine's presidential campaign and swung enough Catholic votes to elect Grover Cleveland in one of America's closest elections.
* Inner-city Catholic politicians battling Protestant Evangelicals, Reformers, and Eugenicists during the Gilded Age;
* The presidential campaigns of Al Smith and John F. Kennedy and the anti-Catholic tactics employed to discredit them;
* The post-Vatican II cultural wars that drove ethnic Catholics into the arms of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan;
* The rise of the cafeteria Catholic voter and his impact on the political process.