The William A. Pencak Award for 2018 goes to Anne Morgan of Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri, for her paper, “The Philadelphia Riots of 1844: Republican Catholicism and Irish Catholic Apologetics.” Ms. Morgan is a student of Professor Daniel Mandell. The Pencak Award committee found Morgan’s paper original and impressive. Anne Morgan examines contested republicanisms that arose during the 1844 anti-Catholic riots in Philadelphia. She argues that the anti-Catholic propaganda (by nativists and the American Republican Party) drew on themes associated with classical republicanism. She shows how Catholics also used classical republicanism but then transformed republican ideals by offering a more “liberal” version of republicanism, one emphasizing “minority rights and the separation of church and state.” The argument is inventive, and her writing was engaging to read. The committee considers Morgan’s paper a new contribution to scholarship on this much-studied series of events.
Morgan was unable to attend last weekend’s annual PHA conference in Lancaster, but was still acknowledged during the proceedings for her commendable work!