Commonweal in the 1920s

From Our Archives

Proposing the Catholic position to non-Catholics; examining the role of sex in marriage; discussing alcohol, birth control, and immigration: From its founding in 1924, (The) Commonweal has energetically engaged the issues of the day. As we mark our ninetieth anniversary this year, we'll be featuring a selection of articles from our archives from every decade we've been in print. (Some of the authors may be familiar to you, and we include their biographies as they appeared in the original stories.)

First up: The 1920s. We've pulled a half-dozen stories so far, and we'll be posting more from the 1920s through the end of March, so make sure to revisit this page in the coming days. As we continue to mark our ninetieth year in publication, we're focusing on a different decade every month through November.

The 1920s, Part 1

G.K. Chesteron on marriage and sex, Hilaire Belloc on explaining Catholicism, and J. Eliot Ross on the case for abstinence (from drink).

Catholicism: Its Case

From the March 24, 1926 issue, written in anticipation of the publication of a series of writings on the Catholic Church, The Calvert Library, featuring many regular contributors to The Commonweal....

Religion and Sex

We do not in the least believe in the greater happiness promised to mankind by the dissolution of lifelong loyalties; we do not feel the slightest respect for the crude and sentimental rhetoric in...

The Evolution of a Moderate Drinker

Prohibition remains the central topic in an unceasing debate. Though The Commonweal is editorially of the opinion that the Eighteenth Amendment has introduced...
The 1920s, Part 2

Joseph I. Breen writes on "spiritual" Chicago, James L. Walsh considers football, and, from 1925, the editors of The Commonweal comment on child labor and the "proposed Twentieth Amendment to the Constitution."

Spiritual Chicago

We have a murder in Chicago almost every morning before breakfast. Try as we do, there is no escaping it. Our newspapers appear to have a sort of standing head to screech forth the very latest fracas...

Football Is a Funny Game!

Football has become such a serious sport that the title of this article seems questionable. A foreign university professor visiting the United States not long ago on academic purposes, declared that...

Editorial: Child Labor Intricacies

According to the champions of the proposed Twentieth Amendment to the Constitution, the Child  Labor Amendment—the battle is by no means over, but only really beginning. Every possible...
The 1920s, Part 3

Mark O' Shriver looks at religious liberty through 1920s court cases over reading the bible in school; Marie Reilly Owens writes on Catholic immigration; and John A. Ryan writes on the case of Carrie Buck, a young woman described as "feebleminded" and forced to undergo involuntary sterilization.

Reading the Bible in School

Sooner or later the Supreme Court of the United States will be called on to determine whether the reading of the Bible in classrooms "without sectarian comment" is or is not  an...

The Catholic Immigrant

The present immigration law, known as the Immigration Act of 1924, which went into effect in July, 1924, limits the annual quota of immigration to 2 percent of the number of each nationality resident...

Unprotected Natural Rights

The first decision ever issued by the Supreme Court of the United States on the constitutionality of legal sterilization of human beings was handed down May 2, 1927 (Buck vs. Bell) with only Justice...


External Reading