"LOUD-VOICED LOVERS OF RELIGIOUS LIBERTY:" THE AMERICAN AND FOREIGN CHRISTIAN UNION'S MISSIONS TO ITALY DURING THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR
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This thesis explores the motivations behind the American and Foreign Christian Union’s missions to Italy during the American Civil War. The AFCU was a missionary organization founded in New York City in 1849 with the ambitious goal of ridding the world of Roman Catholicism. It was born during a time of nativist fervor when American Protestants saw Catholic immigrants as a threat to American democracy. The AFCU believed they could solve the problem of Catholic immigrants by converting the Catholic world to Protestantism, starting with Italy. The leaders of the AFCU believed the world was engaged in a struggle between Liberty and Tyranny. The war against the Confederacy and the fight to free Italians from the tyrannical Pope were different fronts of the same war. The AFCU entire unsuccessful as a missionary organization. They converted virtually no one. However, their publications were essential to helping American Protestants shape their identity.