Document Type

Research Paper


The second half of the 1800s was one of the most important eras in all of American history. It is filled with bloodshed, great political movement, heroic actions, and sorrow. The Civil War was fought due to many factors including the ending of slavery and states’ rights. The Republican Party of 1856 ran on the ending of the "Twin Relics of Barbarianism." These relics are the issues of slavery and polygamy. The party looked to push a more radical agenda and end both of these "relics." The question of polygamy in the late 1800s parallels the issue of slavery in that it became linked to issues of popular sovereignty as well as Church versus State questions. Although the Civil War temporarily overshadowed the struggle taking place in Utah, nevertheless the federal government dispatched Federal officials to the Utah territory, albeit without the military support necessary to enforce their authority. In their correspondence and reports back to Washington, these federal employees made their case for the importance of their work, which was to stamp out polygamy. Perhaps more importantly, it was to subdue the Mormons of the Utah Territory to Federal authority. These federal employees described events in Utah and the Mormons involved by using language that reflected their attitudes about federal authority and those who defied it.

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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Marcus Smith