Skip to main content

Collection 239 Ephemera of Paul Blanshard

Identifier: CN 239

Scope and Contents

The tape in this collection consists of an address made in June 1961 to a meeting sponsored by Protestants and Other Americans United for Separation of Church and State (POAU) on the 170th anniversary of the Bill of Rights. The address was delivered in Constitution Hall, Washington, D.C., by Paul Blanshard, on the topic, "The Future of Catholic Power."

Blanshard began his address by pointing attention to the United States as a prime exhibit of religious pluralism, its history of separation of church and state and the uniqueness of this decision. He reiterated subsequent Supreme Court decisions which have refined and interpreted this decision. He also sketched reasons for the formation of POAU and delineated its watchdog role to guard these rights. Twentieth-century Supreme Court decisions which had interpreted school problems in the area of church and state were encapsulated.

Blanshard defended the wariness of POAU in the matter of Catholic reaction to these decisions because of the church's fundamental conflict with the state in other countries and in its papal directives. He further outlined political decisions made in the second half of the century regarding political parties and consulates to the Vatican, and pointed out political decisions made in Ireland and Spain which were basically religious in nature and affected the entire populace.

He stated that, while POAU supported the tenet that no creedal test should be used for qualification for public office, anti-Catholicism was not always merely ethnic bigotry, as it has sometimes been seen, but a realistic confrontation with stated facts of Catholic policy as they conflict with governing principles of the United States. He explained that though many American Catholics do not necessarily support these Vatican policies, both Catholic and Protestant churches include fanatics who pursue goals not motivated by tolerance. He defended opposition based not on hatred of individuals but of tyrannical institutions in his definition of legitimate attempts to retain divisions of church and state supported by POAU.

Blanshard further stated that the election of John F. Kennedy forced POAU into the political arena because of canon law encyclicals of the Catholic Church, such as the issue of birth control, which compel church-state relationship. He elaborated on this issue, dealing with statistics and laws which have been challenged in courts when there arose a conflict of religious allegiance. His summary reiterated the three areas where these conflicts were primary--medicine, taxation, and education. He concluded with a quotation from Jefferson: "I have sworn on the altar of God eternal hostility to tyranny over the mind of man."


  • Created: 1961

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Biographical Information

Paul Blanshard was born August 27, 1892, in Fredericksburg, Ohio, son of Francis George and Emily Coulter Blanshard. He was married to Julia Anderson on October 20, 1915, the year after he graduated from the University of Michigan with an A.B. degree. The Blanshards had two sons, Paul and Rufus. Paul continued his studies at Union Theological Seminary and was ordained to the ministry of the Congregational Church in 1917, after which he became pastor of the First Congregational Church in Tampa, Florida, a post which he held for a year.

His interest in social and political organizations led Blanshard to leave the pastorate and he served from 1920 to 1924 in the position of educational director of Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America in Rochester, New York. In 1925, he became field secretary for the League of Industrial Democracy and continued in this position until 1933. He was also an associate editor for The Nation between 1928 and 1929, and Director of City Affairs for New York City between 1930 and 1933. Julia Blanshard died in 1934 and a year later Blanshard married Mary W. Hillyer on August 1, 1935.

Blanshard continued his educational career because of a decision to enter law school and he received an LLB degree from Brooklyn Law School in 1937. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Delta Sigma Rho, and did further graduate study at Harvard, Columbia, and Union Theological Seminary during his career. For two years he practiced law, 1939 to 1941, and in 1942 became an economic analyst and consultant for the Caribbean Committee of the State Department, continuing in that position until 1946. Blanshard was also a prolific author. Among his books were: An Outline of the British Labor Movement, 1923; What's the Matter with New York, 1932, co-authored with Norman Thomas; Democracy and Empire in the Caribbean, 1947; American Freedom and Catholic Power, 1949; Communism, Democracy and Catholic Power, 1951; The Irish and Catholic Power, 1953; The Right to Read, 1955; Freedom and Catholic Power in Spain and Portugal, 1962.


1.00 Audio Tape

45 Minutes

Language of Materials


Accruals and Additions

This tape was given to the Billy Graham Center Archives in July 1981 from Mrs. Evan Welsh.

Accession 81-73

January 25, 1983

Frances L. Brocker

J. Nasgowitz

Collection 239 Ephemera of Paul Blanshard
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Roman Script

Repository Details

Part of the Evangelism & Missions Archives Repository

501 College Avenue
Wheaton IL 60187 US