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Given Catholics immigrating to America had experienced varying degrees of oppression
Weegy: he story of Roman Catholicism in the nineteenth century IS the story of immigration. Until about 1845, the Roman Catholic population of the United States was a small minority of mostly English Catholics, who were often quite socially accomplished. [ But when several years of devastating potato famine led millions of Irish Catholics to flee to the United States in the mid 1840s, the face of American Catholicism began to change drastically and permanently. In the space of fifty years, the Catholic population in the United States suddenly transformed from a tight-knit group of landowning, educated aristocrats into an incredibly diverse mass of urban and rural immigrants who came from many different countries, spoke different languages, held different social statuses, and emphasized different parts of their Catholic heritage. Many members of other faiths—Jews, Protestants, and even some Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists—arrived in the successive waves of massive immigration to the United States between the 1840s and 1920s. But Catholics from various countries were the most numerous—and the most noticed. In 1850 Catholics made up only five percent of the total U.S. population. By 1906, they made up seventeen percent of the total population (14 million out of 82 million people)—and constituted the single largest religious denomination in the country. When your students hear the enormity of the demographic and religious shift caused by immigration, they will start to understand why so many American citizens became uneasy about the so-called "Catholic hordes." Change is always difficult, and this was a huge change. Why did things change? Why did so many Catholics come to the United States at this time? Why did the country take them? To answer these questions, you might paint for your students a scene or two of the broad Western-hemisphere trend towards economic and social "modernization." The newly centralized states of Europe and the New World were promoting capital ... (More)
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