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For God and Liberty

Catholicism and Revolution in the Atlantic World, 1790-1861

Pamela Voekel

Publication Date - November 2022

ISBN: 9780197610206

432 pages
6 1/8 x 9 1/4 inches

Retail Price to Students: $29.95


The Age of Revolution has traditionally been understood as an era of secularization, giving the transition from monarchy to independent republics through democratic movements a genealogy that assumes hostility to Catholicism. By centering the story on Spanish and Latin American actors, Pamela Voekel argues that at the heart of this nineteenth-century transformation in Spanish America was a transatlantic Catholic civil war. Voekel demonstrates Reform Catholicism's significance to the thought and action of the rebel literati who led decolonization efforts in Mexico and Central America, showing how each side of this religious divide operated from within a self-conscious intercontinental network of like-minded Catholics. For its central protagonists, the era's crisis of sovereignty provided a political stage for a religious struggle. Drawing on ecclesiastical archives, pamphlets, sermons, and tracts, For God and Liberty reveals how the violent struggles of decolonization and the period before and after Independence are more legible in light of the fault lines within the Church.


  • Places the Catholic Church at the center of political conflict in nineteenth-century Latin America
  • Demonstrates that both ultramontane and reformist Catholics in Latin America formed part of larger transatlantic networks
  • Draws on untapped archival correspondence from ecclesiastical archives and analyzes numerous largely unexamined pamphlets, sermons, and tracts

About the Author(s)

Pamela Voekel is Associate Professor of History and Latin American, Latino, and Caribbean Studies at Dartmouth College. She is the author of the prize-winning Alone Before God: The Religious Origins of Modernity in Mexico and is a co-founder of the Tepoztlán Institute for the Transnational History of the Americas.

Table of Contents

    Introduction: Empire of Faith
    Chapter 1: Drawing the Religious Battle Lines
    Chapter 2: The Rivals Muster
    Chapter 3: The Sacred Polity
    Chapter 4: The View from the Vatican
    Chapter 5: Escalation and Confrontation
    Chapter 6: The Literary Barricades
    Chapter 7: "Religious Passion Tore Us Apart"
    Chapter 8: The Long Shadow: Mexico's Reforma