"HISTORY...IS AN ENDEAVOR TOWARD BETTER UNDERSTANDING AND, CONSEQUENTLY, A THING IN MOVEMENT."
Although scholars have analyzed the second wave of European immigration following the Civil War, they have devoted less space to examining representations of the new, European, Catholic migrants by native-born American Catholics, and while the historiography of American Catholicism has been increasingly attentive to ethnic divisions within the country’s wider Catholic community, there has been little in the way of interpretations of the actual rhetoric, imagery, and ideology at the foundation of such divisions. Catholics, especially those associated with the modernist and Americanist movements within the church in the latter decades of the nineteenth century, this article argues, frequently attached their religious community to the period’s prevailing, hegemonic discourses of whiteness and Anglo-American racial superiority. The Americanist movement, in particular, may have had a darker side than has been previously acknowledged. These ideologies have been traditionally consigned to the Protestant camp when, in fact, Catholics actually played an important role in reconstructing and redeploying against their coreligionists the very rhetoric which had been used frequently in the service of anti-Catholicism