Date of Defense





The origin of this project stems from an episode in the life of my maternal grandfather. An Italian immigrant in a small Michigan community, he found his religion and ethnic origin were a handicap in business and society. In 1927, the local Ku Klux Klan ordered him to close his grocery store and c encouraged him to leave town. His reply was emphatically negative. By chance, a short time later, he heard the Klan had planned a rally to take place on the outskirts of town. After packing his Ford with his children and his pocket with his gun, he drove to the site of the rally. Within sight of the flaming torches and cross, he parked the car and left nis family to investigate. A short time later he returned to his waiting family and said, "Sono pazzo", or, "They are crazv." Within weeks his business had failed due to a Klan-imposed boycott. This paper will focus on the general nature of anti- Catholicism in the Twenties and, particularly, its manifestations in the campaign of 1928. The Ku Klux Klan, Protestant fundamentalists, and various politicians generated anti-Catholic animosity which discredited the candidacy of Al Smith. Such a study well depicts the "sono pazzi" of the Twenties.

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Honors Thesis-Open Access

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History Commons