Roman Catholics, Not Papists: Catholic Identity in Maryland, 1689-1776


Author/Creator ORCID





Citation of Original Publication

Maryland Historical Magazine, Vol. 92, No. 2 (Summer 1997): 139-161



During the period from 1689 to 1776, Catholics in Maryland found themselves in an odd position. While Maryland had been founded by a Catholic and in part as a refuge for Catholics, during these years they faced varying levels of persecution and discrimination. Their enemies identified them as papists, but they always called themselves Roman Catholics. a religious identity that was strengthened during periods of persecution by Anglicans. At first, they were very loyal to the proprietary Calvert family and saw themselves as English Catholics, but various acts, culminating in a double tax on Catholics during the French and Indian War, caused them to lose faith in the Calverts by the late 1750s. At the same time, imperial events weakened their loyalty to England and international events--especially the worldwide suppression of the Jesuits in 1773--caused them to see themselves as Marylanders who happened to be Catholic, allying with Maryland Protestants against the Calverts and the crown.