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Beginning in the late 1740s, when "Papa" (Charles Carroll of Annapolis) sent "Charley" (Charles Carroll of Carrollton) away from his native Maryland to be educated in Europe, the letters present a new perspective on colonial and Revolutionary America as the lived experience of Roman Catholics, whose defiant adherence to their faith denied them the civil rights and guarantees--including the right to hold office and to vote--that their Protestant counterparts enjoyed. This context accentuates the drama of Charley's rise to power during the Revolution, the necessity of the political and economic compromises he felt compelled to make, and the ultimately tragic personal price exacted by his success. Bringing the Carroll's public and private lives sharply into focus, these volumes present the past in its fullest human dimensions.
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