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Brownson (1803-1876) was one of the 19th century’s foremost American intellectuals, involved in every major debate of the time: political, religious, and intellectual. When he finally became one, he was probably Catholic America’s first great lay intellectual who defined the laity’s role in public life.

During his time he insulted the Irish by urging them to become better Americans. He said: "I love the Irish for their attachment to the faith and for many amiable and noble qualities, but they are deficient in good sense, sound judgement, and manly character." He was, people said, “too Yankee for the Catholics and too Catholic for the Yankees.”

Long before smartphones, he warned: "The greatest danger to American society is that we are rapidly becoming a nation of isolated individuals."


Bronson wandered trying to ind an intellectual home
his mother gave him up to be adopted by strict Calvinists when he was 6

yes, an intellectual but these days we would wonder at the personal crisis in his life ( so many changes, such physical wandering)
how did that effect his thought and searching ?
such radical shifts in thought and alligence
there are hints of instability