Publication Date

April 2018

Advisor(s)

Jonathan Cutler

Major

Sociology

Language

English (United States)

Abstract

Based in a suburb outside of Detroit, the Irish Catholic priest Father Coughlin is considered to be one of the most important and influential public figures of the Depression-era United States. Broadcasting his controversial political sermons over national radio, Father Coughlin appealed to both left-wing and right-wing concerns. Additionally, Father Coughlin?s political message consistently intertwined anti-Semitism and progressive politics. This congruence between anti-Semitism and progressive politics challenges the political ideology and historical framework of two prominent biographers of Coughlin: Alan Brinkley and Donald Warren. Warren and Brinkley portray Coughlin?s political ideology in sometimes complimentary, but often conflicting ways. The two biographers both manipulate the evidence in order to fit Coughlin into their framework. Furthermore, in both cases, all expressions of anti-Semitism remain completely divorced from efforts of progressive change and they are largely dismissive of the power of his political program. Through an analysis of Father Coughlin?s political program and a historiography of the way in which it has been misrepresented, this thesis touches upon the potency of a message that speaks to both right-wing and left-wing concerns as well as the danger of dismissing politicians as crazy or irrelevant.

Share

COinS
 

© Copyright is owned by author of this document