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Author Topic: How did Catholic women vote in 1928 and earlier?  (Read 524 times)
darklordoftech
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« on: September 19, 2018, 12:45:44 am »

I get the impression that the GOP was more anti-Catholic, but more feminist.
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« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2018, 01:15:03 am »

Tough to say for sure, but I'd imagine they were Republican-leaning. Since women weren't guaranteed the vote until 1920, I'd say they went Republican given how heavily Republican the North (where almost all Catholics lived) was from 1920-28.

The Republican Party was the broadly more anti-Catholic party from roughly its founding until 1910, but Southern-fried Democrats like Woodrow Wilson and Hugo Black gave them a run for their money after the rebirth of the KKK. In fact, there may be at least certain senses in which the Democratic Party was the more Catholic and the more anti-Catholic party during the period in question.

P.S. I know you're keeping this to a very narrow period, but even in earlier decades, nativism/anti-Catholicism wasn't a one-party issue. In 1854 it was said of the NYS Assembly, "Know Nothings are sprinkled miscellaneously among Whigs, Hards and Softs [referring to the two wings of the state Democrats]; and exactly how many there are of these gentry in the Assembly Nobody Knows."

I also think that much of our understanding of anti-Catholic prejudice during the Civil War era is obscured by confounding political interests. New York and Boston were already Democratic strongholds in otherwise Yankee Republican states. It's hard to detangle anti-Catholicism within the Republican Party during the period from pure nativism and nationalist wartime sentiment. We tend to think of anti-Catholicism during that time through the extremely-local Gangs of New York lens, and I have to wonder how much that sentiment really mattered to national politicians.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2018, 01:19:45 am by AMB1996 »Logged

Non-partisan conservative. Most familiar with New Jersey and Massachusetts politics.

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« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2018, 09:16:33 pm »

Tough to say for sure, but I'd imagine they were Republican-leaning. Since women weren't guaranteed the vote until 1920, I'd say they went Republican given how heavily Republican the North (where almost all Catholics lived) was from 1920-28.

The Republican Party was the broadly more anti-Catholic party from roughly its founding until 1910, but Southern-fried Democrats like Woodrow Wilson and Hugo Black gave them a run for their money after the rebirth of the KKK. In fact, there may be at least certain senses in which the Democratic Party was the more Catholic and the more anti-Catholic party during the period in question.

P.S. I know you're keeping this to a very narrow period, but even in earlier decades, nativism/anti-Catholicism wasn't a one-party issue. In 1854 it was said of the NYS Assembly, "Know Nothings are sprinkled miscellaneously among Whigs, Hards and Softs [referring to the two wings of the state Democrats]; and exactly how many there are of these gentry in the Assembly Nobody Knows."

I also think that much of our understanding of anti-Catholic prejudice during the Civil War era is obscured by confounding political interests. New York and Boston were already Democratic strongholds in otherwise Yankee Republican states. It's hard to detangle anti-Catholicism within the Republican Party during the period from pure nativism and nationalist wartime sentiment. We tend to think of anti-Catholicism during that time through the extremely-local Gangs of New York lens, and I have to wonder how much that sentiment really mattered to national politicians.

State by state, tribalism played a very big role in political alignments. So what applies to one state or period, may not apply to another.
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TJ in Oregon
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« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2018, 01:25:39 am »

I can tell you that Catholics in Wisconsin voted overwhelmingly Democratic prior to 1920, with the solitary exception of Belgian Catholics around the Green Bay areas who leaned Republican (and always have). Maps of WI statewide elections in that era look almost like an inversion of the mid-2000s, where the Democrats won the eastern, more German and more Catholic part of the state while the Republicans won the western WASP and Nordic areas. Back in those days, the WI Democrats were a small very conservative party and the WI Republicans were feuding between progressive and stalwart factions.

When Woodrow Wilson so unjustly embroiled the US in WWI, the German Catholics (along with the ~half of German Lutherans who were Democrats) flipped instantly, and pretty much completely, to the Republicans. Since Germans were the majority of Catholics in the state, that meant that Catholics were on the whole a Republican constituency in Wisconsin more or less from that point forward (excepting a couple outlier points such as 1928 and to a lesser extent 1960, although many German Catholics still voted against JFK because he was too liberal). However, despite the Republican tradition among German Catholics, other ethnic Catholics, especially the Polish, largely remained a Democratic constituency throughout that period and have only very recently started to open up to the GOP. The Belgians continued to vote for the Republicans by moderate margins.

So, to answer the question, at least within Wisconsin, the answer would be Republican in 1920 and 1924 and Democratic in 1928. Since the 19th Amendment was passed in 1920, women did not vote in presidential elections before then, but almost certainly would have voted Democratic if they could, except for the Belgians.

Nationwide the answer will vary by state and ethnic group.
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« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2018, 08:25:19 am »

Tough to say for sure, but I'd imagine they were Republican-leaning. Since women weren't guaranteed the vote until 1920, I'd say they went Republican given how heavily Republican the North (where almost all Catholics lived) was from 1920-28.

The Republican Party was the broadly more anti-Catholic party from roughly its founding until 1910, but Southern-fried Democrats like Woodrow Wilson and Hugo Black gave them a run for their money after the rebirth of the KKK. In fact, there may be at least certain senses in which the Democratic Party was the more Catholic and the more anti-Catholic party during the period in question.

P.S. I know you're keeping this to a very narrow period, but even in earlier decades, nativism/anti-Catholicism wasn't a one-party issue. In 1854 it was said of the NYS Assembly, "Know Nothings are sprinkled miscellaneously among Whigs, Hards and Softs [referring to the two wings of the state Democrats]; and exactly how many there are of these gentry in the Assembly Nobody Knows."

I also think that much of our understanding of anti-Catholic prejudice during the Civil War era is obscured by confounding political interests. New York and Boston were already Democratic strongholds in otherwise Yankee Republican states. It's hard to detangle anti-Catholicism within the Republican Party during the period from pure nativism and nationalist wartime sentiment. We tend to think of anti-Catholicism during that time through the extremely-local Gangs of New York lens, and I have to wonder how much that sentiment really mattered to national politicians.

Outside of maybe 1856, not much it seemed.  The Know Nothings did have a ticket that year but it largely acted as an opposition ticket to the Democrats in a lot of Southern states where there was no GOP presence.  There were northern areas where the Know Nothings did get some votes but those votes were tiny compared to how many people switched over to the GOP.  Slavery was clearly the more dominating issue in 1856.

For their part, a lot of the early GOP was pretty pro-immigrant and GOP nominee Fremont made a point of standing up against nativism just as much as he did slavery.  This opened him up to attacks from not just Know Nothings, but from Democrats, that he was too biased towards Catholic immigrants over native born Americans.  Some opponents even brought up Fremont being married in a Catholic ceremony to damage him in several northern states that Republicans had a shot at.

In all honesty it wouldn't surprise me if the whole anti-Catholic movement was much more of a rural and small town Protestant thing (on both sides) than it actually was a Democratic vs. Republican thing.  As you mentioned, many Southern Democrats were just as anti-Catholic and anti-immigrant as a lot of Republicans were.  It only seems like the GOP was more anti-Catholic because demographically speaking their supporters were more likely to be residing in rural and small town areas in much of the North (with some exceptions as TJ has mentioned).  Which explains why when the Bryanites started taking over the Democratic Party and rural areas in the plains started shifting hard toward the Democrats it became harder to tell which party was explicitly more anti-Catholic than the other.  Hell, by the early 20th century a lot of Republicans in New England even were starting to moderate on ethnic/religious issues because of electoral common sense.

The topic of nativism in the 19th-early 20th century GOP is a fascinating one because it exposes a dark side of a party that a lot of people assume was enlightened and tolerant.  The truth is much more complex.  The GOP, just like the Democrats they faced, was a complex coalition that can't be boiled down to any one ideology other than opposition to the pro-slavery interests that were trying to take over the country.  In a way you could say the theme of the GOP was principled objective governance that avoided special interest influence that could endanger the liberties and rights of the common citizen.  Of course it wouldn't take long for the GOP to flop on that theme as people with money and power started gaining more influence in the party's economic and fiscal policies.  People with more money and power tend to think of themselves as better people than those not as gifted as they are. . . . . . . which leads to the promotion of what we in the modern age would call "nanny state" ideas to regulate the "less abled" into living as those above them demand.  This probably explains why a lot of upper class Republican (and some Democratic) lawmakers, both conservative cronies and progressive "reformers", tended to support things like "Blue Laws", the eugenics movement, and even ideas as intrusive as making it illegal to own a saloon in Manhattan (unless it was also a hotel. . . . . .  yeah bad things totally wouldn't happen there), banning early professional wrestling, and even making it illegal to play baseball on the weekends!

So basically yeah, it's class entitlement (and to be fair a degree of religious influence) that probably explains a lot of the moralistic side of the GOP.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2018, 08:35:29 am by The News »Logged
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