This chapter investigates the use of Americanism to appropriate Roman Catholicism for the good of a nation. It recounts older Roman Catholic heresy claimed that the American political system was not at odds with church teaching, even though the United States seemed to stand for most of the social and political realities that nineteenth-century popes had condemned. It also talks about the Americanists in the nineteenth-century who argued that Vatican officials misread the United States, stating that the nation was far friendlier to Roman Catholicism than Europeans imagined. The chapter details how Americanists urged the church to update its polity to the nation's political sensibilities, a strategy that would make Roman Catholicism look less odd in the United States. It also highlights ways Americanists adapt Roman Catholicism to life in a secular, constitutional republic.
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