Orestes Augustus Brownson (1803 –1876) was among the most original and powerful intellects of his era. A self-taught child prodigy who had memorized most of the Bible by the age of 14, in youth he attached himself to the New England Transcendentalists and advocated a liberal and utopian socialism. Having outgrown his errors, at the age of 41 and after a meeting with the bishop of Boston, he became a Catholic, albeit a controversial one since his liberal heritage was difficult for him to shake off. His most famous book is The American Republic: Its Constitution, Tendencies and Destiny (1865).

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