New Pursuit of Wisdom Online Course Reveals Vital Role of Catholics in U.S. Founding

AVE MARIA, Florida – The immensely successful Pursuit of Wisdom series of free online courses presented by the faculty of Ave Maria University returns with a new course: “The Rise of American Politics,” which uncovers the vital role Catholics played in founding the United States and explores their dual loyalty to America and the Holy See.

“Catholics—not just Pilgrims and Puritans—fled religious persecution to become founders of America,” presenter Dr. Michael Breidenbach said. “Overcoming religious prejudice and economic hardship, Catholics soon formed the largest religious denomination and charitable organization in the United States, becoming a leading influence in politics, business, and society that benefits all Americans.”

Led by Dr. Breidenbach’s expertise and enthusiasm, the course explores the rich history of Catholics in America and their dedication to both religious and national identities.  

“I hope that viewers of my short course will see the important contributions Catholics made to the development of the United States,” Dr. Breidenbach stated.

Dr. Michael Breidenbach is an associate professor of history at Ave Maria University, specializing in American politics, religion, and law. He is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society, has held research positions at institutions including Princeton University and Oxford University, and made appearances on national media. Dr. Breidenbach earned his Ph.D. from King’s College, Cambridge, and resides in Southwest Florida with his family.

“The Rise of American Politics,” and all Pursuit of Wisdom courses, can be accessed via and the free Pursuit of Wisdom app, available to download on major app store platforms.