Papists in a Protestant World: The Catholic Anglo-Atlantic in the Seventeenth Century


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




By the end of the seventeenth century, the English empire had positioned itself as the dominant Protestant force in the Atlantic zone. Given that anti-Catholicism was pivotal to England’s ultimate emergence as a Protestant empire, how should we understand the many Catholic subjects who helped people and define that empire over the course of the seventeenth century? Adopting an Atlantic approach that avoids privileging Protestant inhabitants, this dissertation emphasizes identifying Catholic residents and reconstructing their role in the development of English colonial society. Focusing on a group that contradicted the ideological impetus of English expansion, this study broadens our understanding of allegiance and toleration at a crucial moment in the construction of the early modern world.