Brownson, Orestes 
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Time Period
9/16/1803  - 4/17/1876
Description
Orestes Brownson (pronounced Bronson) was a public intellectual, who became an ardent Catholic defender after a long period of religious transitions. His temporary affiliations with Presbyterianism, Universalism, Unitarianism, and Transcendentalism marked a time where Brownson wrestled with religion and its role in society. In 1844, he became a member of the Catholic Church, drawn by its potential to reform society and to connect community with the divine.

Although he was already an outspoken public figure before his conversion, his subsequent work as a Catholic apologist furthered his controversial reputation, albeit a more conservative one now. He defended Catholic doctrine against Protestant thought in the Brownson’s Quarterly Review (1844), and he advocated America’s conversion to Catholicism. His support for the pope’s supremacy led to a letter of thanks from Pope Pius IX in 1854. Most notably, he was the first to publicly advocate the compatibility of Catholicism with American society.
Interactive Timeline(s)
Prominent Religious Events and People in American History
Catholic Religious Events and People in American History
Browse Related Timeline Entries
Prominent Religious Events and People in American History
Catholic Religious Events and People in American History
Religious Groups
Catholicism (Western Liturgical Family): Other ARDA Links

Photographs

Orestes Brownson portrait- National Portrait Gallery Smithsonian Institution

Orestes Brownson portrait- Internet Archive- from The Works of Orestes A. Brownson, vol 1 by Henry F. Brownson

Orestes Brownson portrait- Internet Archive- from Conversations on Liberalism and the Church by O. A. Brownson
Book/Journal Source(s)
Queen, Edward, Stephen Prothero and Gardiner Shattuck, 1996. The Encyclopedia of American Religious History. New York: Facts on File.
Reid, Daniel, Robert Linder, Bruce Shelley, and Harry Stout, 1990. Dictionary of Christianity in America. Downers Grove, IL.
Web Page Contributor
Benjamin T. Gurrentz
Affliated with: Pennsylvania State University, Ph.D. in Sociology

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