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A Catholic New Deal Religion and Reform in Depression Pittsburgh cover
  • ISBN: 9780271018966
  • ISBN10: 0271018968

A Catholic New Deal Religion and Reform in Depression Pittsburgh

by Kenneth J. Heineman

  • List Price: $31.95
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publisher: Pennsylvania State Univ Pr
  • Publish date: 08/01/1999
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Our popular image of the era of the Great Depression is one of bread lines, labor wars, & leftist firebrands. Absent from this picture are religiously motivated social reformers, notably Catholic clergy & laity. In A Catholic New Deal, Kenneth Heineman rethinks the religious roots of labor organizing & social reform in America during the 1930s. He focuses on Pittsburgh, the leading industrial city of the time, a key center for the rise of American labor, & a critical Democratic power base, thanks in large part to Mayor David Lawrence & the Catholic vote. Despite the fact that Catholics were the core of the American industrial working class in the 1930s, historians (& many contemporary observers) have underestimated or ignored the religious component of labor activism in this era. In fact, many labor historians have argued that workers could not have formed successful industrial unions without first severing their religious ties. Heineman disputes this, arguing that there would have been no steelworkers union without Pittsburgh Catholics such as James Cox, Patrick Fagan, Carl Hensler, Phil Murray, & Charles Owen Rice. He presents a complex portrait of American Catholicism in which a large number of activist priests & laity championed a distinctly Catholic vision of social justice. This vision was anticommunist, antifascist, & anti-laissez faire. These Catholics, in turn, helped to make the Democratic Party & the CIO powerful organizations. A Catholic New Deal shows conclusively the important role that religion played in the history of organized labor in America.
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