Matthew A. Redinger
“Matthew Redinger makes a significant contribution to our understanding of U.S.–Mexican relations from 1924 to 1936. This is a book that will be important reading for scholars and students.” —William Beezley, University of Arizona
“Matthew Redinger’s fine study is remarkable in that it will appeal not only to readers of American diplomatic history and Mexican–United States relations, but also to those who wish to have a richer understanding of the history of the Catholic Church. With its focus on the importance of private interest groups in U.S. foreign policy, it is especially relevant to our own times.” —Robert R. Swartout, Jr., Carroll College
“Geography brought them together, but history drove them apart.” This is the fundamental reality of the relationship between the United States and Mexico, contends Matthew A. Redinger. Roman Catholics in the United States became increasingly alarmed by the anticlerical articles included in the new Mexican Constitution of 1917 and by the moves to enforce them in the 1920s, through nationalizing church property and closing religious schools. U.S. Catholics viewed the anticlerical agenda of radical social reformers as a threat to their very soul. Individual religious and lay leaders and numerous Catholic organizations responded by launching broad-based initiatives to arouse sympathetic public opinion and to force the U.S. government to alter its relationship to the Mexican government.
Redinger’s study offers an insightful analysis of the efforts of many American Catholics working as a private interest group to effect change in U.S.–Mexican relations and in the public policy of this nation. His judicious examination of numerous ecclesiastical and governmental archives, as well as personal papers, elucidates an important period in American Catholic history.
“This in-depth study details the efforts of Catholic Church leaders, activists, and laypeople to pressure the federal government to protect the rights of Mexican Catholic coreligionists living under the anticlerical Mexican revolutionary constitution of 1917.” — Choice
“Events in the 1920’s presented a formidable challenge to Catholics on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. . . In the United States, Catholic individuals and institutions searched for ways to influence foreign policy on behalf of their beleaguered coreligionists while simultaneously maintaining their hard-won bona fides as patriotic Americans in the eyes of the broader population. This able monograph by Matthew A. Redinger. . . explor[es] the complex relationships that formed the interface between public opinion and public policy in this case. . . the reader will. . . find much in these pages to stimulate thought on the author’s primary target, the evolution of United States Catholic political voices.” — American Catholic Studies
“This book provides a detailed account of the various methods by which the American Catholic hierarchy, clergy, and laity attempted to influence official U.S. policy toward the Mexican government’s anticlericalism in the years following the Revolution of 1910-20. Redinger skillfully analyzes the interplay among different institutional levels within the far-from-monolithic Church of this period.” — The Catholic Historical Review
“Redinger makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the torturous path of politics, negotiation, and diplomacy that ultimately halted the war between Catholic militants and Mexico’s Revolutionary government. . . . American Catholics and the Mexican Revolution will be important reading for scholars and students interested in U.S. Mexican relations, American Catholic history, the church-state conflict in Revolutionary Mexico, and the role of private interest groups in public policy-making.” — Western Historical Quarterly
“This study asks important questions about the intentions of and roles played by American Catholics and the American Catholic Church during what might be termed the official anticlerical phase of the Mexican Revolution, 1924-1936.” — American Historical Review
“Probably the most significant contribution of this study is the examination of how Catholic clergy and laymen (including the Knights of Columbus) were successful in stimulating public discussion in the United States of Mexico’s church-state crisis.” — The Journal of American History
“Matthew A. Redinger describes the reaction of American Catholics to the persecution of the Church during the radical stages of the Mexican Revolution . . . . Redinger offers real insight into the troubled history of relations between Mexico and the United States.” — Catholic Southwest, A Journal of History and Culture
“Matthew Redinger’s new work . . . look[s] at the ways in which specific Roman Catholic leaders and lay groups tried to influence U.S. political leaders in regard to Mexico’s postrevolutionary government. Redinger shows that not all church leaders, let alone laypeople, favored involvement of any kind, yet there were those who took strong stances.” — Hispanic American Historical Review