Lead: During the American Revolution, an attempt to increase the civil liberties of English Roman Catholics provoked a storm of protest. For five days in summer of 1780 the City of London was convulsed by the Gordon Riots.

                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts. 

                Content: Roman Catholics in post-Reformation England suffered near intolerable discrimination. Associated in the English mind with the hostile foreign policy of Catholic Spain and France, Roman Catholics were thought to constitute a fifth column of traitors. The Black Legend asserted that Catholic spies and Catholic subversives were lurking behind every tree. The truth of the matter was that by 1580 under the deft manipulation of Queen Elizabeth I, the tiny minority of Catholics remaining in England were largely domesticated. They were mostly content to worship in private and endured in relative silence the periodic bursts of anti-catholic sentiment and only occasional enforcement of recusancy laws under which those who refused to attend Church of England services had to pay a fine.