Historians of American Catholicism long have recognized that John Ireland, the aggressive archbishop of Saint Paul, Minnesota, was a leading exponent of the Americanist movement. At the turn of the twentieth century Ireland advocated a number of important ideas—religious liberty, separation of church and state, interfaith cooperation, and greater lay initiative—gleaned from the American experience. Reflecting his democratic convictions, Ireland declared, “Let there be individual action. Layman need not wait for priest, nor priest for bishop, nor bishop for pope.” Although there were differences on specific issues, Americanists in general took an optimistic view of American life and culture. In fact, they were eager to move their church into a more positive relationship with the political, cultural, and social climate of America.