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Johns Hopkins University Press Distinguished historian Robert Emmett Curran presents an informed and balanced study of the American Catholic Church's experience in its two most important regions in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Spanning the years 1805 to 1915, Curran highlights the rivalry and tension between the northeast and southeast, specifically New York and Maryland, in assuming leadership of the church in America and the Society of Jesus. Slavery, polity, religious culture, education, the intellectual life, and social justice -- all were integral to the American Church's formation and development, and each is explored in this book. The essays provide a unique vantage point to the American Catholic experience by their focus on two communities that played such an incomparable role in shaping the character of the church in America. Though Baltimore was half the size of New York in population, until the 1900s it held a significant edge in the number of churches, priests, and religious orders serving the needs of its own immigrant community. By 1900 the place that Maryland had occupied as the premier see of the Church in America was won by New York in actuality if not in title. Based on exemplary archival research and scholarship, the book offers an engaging history of the northward shift in power and influence in the nineteenth century.