Jeffery Appelhans, Adjunct Professor in the History Department at the University of Delaware
University of Delaware
Newark, DE 19716
Professor Appelhans specializes in the political and religious
culture of early America. He completed his Ph.D. at the University of
Delaware in Summer 2018, where he continues as an Adjunct Assistant
Professor while revising his dissertation into a book manuscript. Prior
to coming to Delaware, he completed his B.A. in History at the
University of Colorado at Boulder, with a Secondary Education
certification, and completed his M.A. in History at the University of
Colorado, Colorado Springs and Georgetown University, with support from
the James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation.
titled “The Creation of American Catholicism: From the Revolution to
the Early Republic,” the project illuminates the role of Catholics in
the public sphere and civil society from 1773 to 1844. It offers a new
narrative: the story of how the Revolution and the early republic
created American Catholics by unleashing the forces that established
them as citizens. By exploring Catholics’ ability to develop political,
ideological, and cultural credibility, this manuscript explains how they
secured prominence in the public sphere and civil society between 1773
and 1844. It turns a major idea on its head: contrary to most
narratives, the firestorm of anti-Catholic violence that began in the
late 1830s was due less to the threat they posed as hated outsiders than
to their success at cultivating their status as persuasive and
influential insiders. It is a story about how religious and cultural
minorities nurture political empowerment by developing modes of
persuasion—modes of soft, surreptitious power expressed through
harmonies romantic, literary, musical, and evidentiary. It speaks about
not only their era, but to ours.
A forthcoming (Dec. 2019) article in the Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society
exemplifies the forgotten integration of Catholics in the era between
the Revolution and the Famine by recovering the 1830s life of William H.
Keating, a Philadelphia Catholic who became a professor of science at
Penn, co-founded the Franklin Institute, served in elective office, and
became a railroad executive.
The research has
enjoyed the substantial support of the American Philosophical Society,
the Cushwa Center at Notre Dame, the New Orleans Center for the Gulf
South at Tulane University, a Mellon Fellowship at the Library Company
of Philadelphia and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, the Maryland
Historical Society, and numerous intermural awards, including a
University Dissertation fellowship from the University of Delaware.
“The Creation of American Catholicism: From the Revolution to the Early Republic,” book manuscript (in process).
“A Catholic Whig in the Age of Reason: Science, Sociability, and the Everyday Life of William H. Keating,” Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society (forthcoming, December 2019).
Review of Adam L. Tate, Catholics Lost Cause: South Carolina Catholics and the American South, 1820–1861 in Church History: Studies in Christianity and Culture (forthcoming).
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