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Personnel Adjunct Professor

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  • Jeffery Appelhans, Adjunct Professor in the History Department at the University of Delaware

    Adjunct Professor
    University of Delaware
    Newark, DE 19716


    Professor Appelhans specializes in the political and religious culture of early America. He completed his Ph.D. at the University of Delaware in Summer 2018, where he continues as an Adjunct Assistant Professor while revising his dissertation into a book manuscript. Prior to coming to Delaware, he completed his B.A. in History at the University of Colorado at Boulder, with a Secondary Education certification, and completed his M.A. in History at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs and Georgetown University, with support from the James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation.

    Tentatively titled “The Creation of American Catholicism: From the Revolution to the Early Republic,” the project illuminates the role of Catholics in the public sphere and civil society from 1773 to 1844. It offers a new narrative: the story of how the Revolution and the early republic created American Catholics by unleashing the forces that established them as citizens. By exploring Catholics’ ability to develop political, ideological, and cultural credibility, this manuscript explains how they secured prominence in the public sphere and civil society between 1773 and 1844. It turns a major idea on its head: contrary to most narratives, the firestorm of anti-Catholic violence that began in the late 1830s was due less to the threat they posed as hated outsiders than to their success at cultivating their status as persuasive and influential insiders. It is a story about how religious and cultural minorities nurture political empowerment by developing modes of persuasion—modes of soft, surreptitious power expressed through harmonies romantic, literary, musical, and evidentiary. It speaks about not only their era, but to ours.

    A forthcoming (Dec. 2019) article in the Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society exemplifies the forgotten integration of Catholics in the era between the Revolution and the Famine by recovering the 1830s life of William H. Keating, a Philadelphia Catholic who became a professor of science at Penn, co-founded the Franklin Institute, served in elective office, and became a railroad executive. 

    The research has enjoyed the substantial support of the American Philosophical Society, the Cushwa Center at Notre Dame, the New Orleans Center for the Gulf South at Tulane University, a Mellon Fellowship at the Library Company of Philadelphia and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, the Maryland Historical Society, and numerous intermural awards, including a University Dissertation fellowship from the University of Delaware.


    “The Creation of American Catholicism: From the Revolution to the Early Republic,” book manuscript (in process).

    “A Catholic Whig in the Age of Reason: Science, Sociability, and the Everyday Life of William H. Keating,” Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society (forthcoming, December 2019).

    Review of Adam L. Tate, Catholics Lost Cause: South Carolina Catholics and the American South, 1820–1861 in Church History: Studies in Christianity and Culture (forthcoming).





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  • Department of History
  • 46 W. Delaware Avenue
  • Newark, DE 19716, USA
  • University of Delaware
  • Phone: 302-831-2371