Great Catholics were crucial to America’s founding, yet they were downgraded by most historians who never spoke their names.
End of problem — thanks to an independent historian, Dan LeRoy, who gets right to the point. “The primary goal of this book: to gather together, in one place and for the first time, the significant contributions of Catholics to the American Revolution.” The veteran writer-researcher does this in twelve chapters that flow like a screenplay and make his electrifying case: Catholics did something more remarkable than just support the patriot cause; they helped lead it.
LeRoy skillfully depicts the risks taken by each man, whom he calls a “group of Catholics who were among the greatest statesmen, thinkers, and military leaders of the day.” He also answers two fundamental questions unaddressed by other historians: (1) What would the Revolution have been like without these Catholics? and (2) Why did they do it?
Here, at last, is a full chronicle of the Founding that does justice to the heroic “papists” whose lives were on the line, alongside the descendants of Puritans and other refugees. In some cases, George Washington himself knew them, admired them, advanced their careers, and ultimately thanked them — on behalf of a grateful nation. Among hundreds of insights, you’ll learn about:
- The Jesuit torn between his priestly duties and support for his countrymen
- The two Catholic Carrolls — one a courageous cleric, the other a signer of the Constitution
- The pivotal role of American Catholics in the first slave revolt
- The endless suffering of Catholics living in early America
- The saintly heroism of Lafayette — his wife, the Marquise de Lafayette, that is
- The patriots from Poland who finally get their due
- What Ben Franklin, John Adams, George Washington, and other Founders thought of Catholicism
400 pages, paperback