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Date of Award


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Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)




The growing patriotism of the Catholic population, the Church's vigorous support of the “Social Gospel,” and the accommodation of Catholics to American democratic institutions -- all of these factors helped to make the Church of Rome more acceptable to the majority of Americans. Nonetheless, there was still a considerable amount of latent anti-Catholic feeling in the country, especially in the South. Therefore, when Alfred E. Smith, a Catholic, became the Democratic presidential candidate in 1928, animosity towards the Catholic Church, which hitherto had been submerged, came to the surface during the campaign.

Some people, especially Catholics, went so far as to maintain that it was religious prejudice that cost Smith the election. The purpose of this essay will be to determine the veracity or falsity of this interpretation of the cause of Smith’s defeat in the election of 1928, in the hope that a careful representation of the past will enable us to understand the living present and to predict the uncertain future.