Cover: Our Dear-Bought Liberty: Catholics and Religious Toleration in Early America, from Harvard University PressCover: Our Dear-Bought Liberty in HARDCOVER

Our Dear-Bought Liberty

Catholics and Religious Toleration in Early America

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Product Details


$45.00 • £36.95 • €40.50

ISBN 9780674247239

Publication Date: 05/25/2021


368 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

13 photos


An original, provocative contribution to the study of U.S. Catholic history.—George Weigel, First Things

An impressive work of historical scholarship that makes a persuasive case for the importance of American Catholics in the story of American religious liberty… Breidenbach has broken new ground.—Lael Weinberger, National Review

The definitive treatment of the Catholic quest for religious toleration in America… An excellent work that should be read by anyone interested in church–state relations in early America.—Mark David Hall, Law & Liberty

What has medieval Catholic ecclesiology and political thought to do with the U.S. Constitution? Much more than anyone thought, it turns out, as Breidenbach shows in this impressively researched, superbly argued, and beautifully written book. Our Dear-Bought Liberty will compel a rethinking of church–state relations, religious liberty and toleration, and the place of Catholicism in American history. A truly important, original work.—Brad S. Gregory, author of The Unintended Reformation: How a Religious Revolution Secularized Society

Breidenbach’s provocative book makes the case for Catholics’ intellectual contributions to the juridical separation of church and state. Ranging from medieval jurist John of Paris to James Madison, this vigorously argued, richly sourced work should permanently widen the lens through which American constitutional history is discussed and debated.—Catherine O’Donnell, author of Men of Letters in the Early Republic: Cultivating Forums of Citizenship

An extremely interesting and well-written book. It isn’t easy to make a new contribution to the much-studied topic of religious liberty in colonial America, but Breidenbach does so by exploring the subject within the broad tradition of conciliarist or Gallican Catholic thinking about the nature of papal authority. Situating the American experience within an often overlooked dimension of European religious history, he offers a valuable perspective on historical questions that remain enormously important to the study of early America, early modern Britain, and the Atlantic world.—Jeffrey Collins, author of In the Shadow of Leviathan: John Locke and the Politics of Conscience

In this remarkably well researched book, Breidenbach shows that Anglo-American Catholics embraced a centuries-old intellectual tradition within Catholicism to contribute to the idea of church–state separation that ultimately took root in the United States. He deftly shows that American Catholics were not the grateful beneficiaries of church–state separation; rather, they were early—and natural—architects of it.—Maura Jane Farrelly, author of Papist Patriots: The Making of an American Catholic Identity

Our Dear-Bought Liberty sheds new light on the Catholic origins of religious liberty in the United States and its constitutional tradition. Although colonial Catholics are often forgotten and overlooked, Breidenbach asserts their wide-ranging impact in the Maryland colony and the nascent republic as they helped shape the American understanding of religious liberty. This extensively researched and eloquent work leads the reader to a greater appreciation of this central theme advanced by Catholics from the Constitutional Convention to the Second Vatican Council.—Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York

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Jacket: An Inquiry into Modes of Existence: An Anthropology of the Moderns, by Bruno Latour, translated by Catherine Porter, from Harvard University Press

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In awarding Bruno Latour the 2021 Kyoto Prize for Arts and Philosophy, the Inamori Foundation said he has “revolutionized the conventional view of science” and “his philosophy re-examines ‘modernity’ based on the dualism of nature and society.” Below is an excerpt from An Inquiry into Modes of Existence: An Anthropology of the Moderns. For more than twenty years, scientific and technological controversies have proliferated in number and scope, eventually reaching the climate itself. Since geologists are beginning to use the term “Anthropocene” to designate the era of Earth’s history that follows the Holocene