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Vote No: Archbishop Walsh, the Catholic Church and the 1944 New Jersey Constitution

Nicholas Turse


In 1947, the state of New Jersey cast out its 1844 Constitution that had become an antiquated, patchwork liability, and adopted a modern document that became a model for excellence. When this 1947 Constitution was in development, the powers backing it made conscious and conspicuous effort to rally support behind the new document. After a plethora of failed attempts at revision, nothing was left to chance. Foremost among groups courted for support of the constitution was the Roman Catholic Church. To comprehend and appreciate the need for and eventual gain of Catholic support of the "new" 1947 Constitution, one must fully examine the issues and innerworkings of the Church's previous opposition. By doing so one can see a political shift not only in the Church, but also in power and policy in New Jersey as a whole.

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