The multiplicity of the Catholic past
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book argues that reconstructive coalitions explain transformation of minority status and the variations in Catholic political incorporation. It traces the processes by which Catholic standing is changing by examining how central Catholics are to particular coalitions, what types of coalitions spark change, whether reconstruction under a broader identity is taking place, and which groups are leading such reconstruction. The book presents evidence on the timing and intercountry differences in transformation of Catholic standing in the three countries (United States, Canada, and Australia) starting around 1930, and why other theories do not account for this transformation. It outlines the comparative evidence by looking in depth at how Catholics interacted with labor politics in these three countries, and the degree to which institutional factors such as regional identities impeded reconstructive coalitions centered on labor.