The Mormon Question

Polygamy and Constitutional Conflict in Nineteenth-Century America

Author: Sarah Barringer Gordon

Publisher: Univ of North Carolina Press

ISBN: 0807875260

Category: Religion

Page: 352

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From the Mormon Church's public announcement of its sanction of polygamy in 1852 until its formal decision to abandon the practice in 1890, people on both sides of the "Mormon question" debated central questions of constitutional law. Did principles of religious freedom and local self-government protect Mormons' claim to a distinct, religiously based legal order? Or was polygamy, as its opponents claimed, a new form of slavery--this time for white women in Utah? And did constitutional principles dictate that democracy and true liberty were founded on separation of church and state? As Sarah Barringer Gordon shows, the answers to these questions finally yielded an apparent victory for antipolygamists in the late nineteenth century, but only after decades of argument, litigation, and open conflict. Victory came at a price; as attention and national resources poured into Utah in the late 1870s and 1880s, antipolygamists turned more and more to coercion and punishment in the name of freedom. They also left a legacy in constitutional law and political theory that still governs our treatment of religious life: Americans are free to believe, but they may well not be free to act on their beliefs.
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The Polygamy Question

Author: Janet Bennion,Lisa Fishbayn Joffe

Publisher: University Press of Colorado

ISBN: 0874219973

Category: History

Page: 288

View: 2533

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The practice of polygamy occupies a unique place in North American history and has had a profound effect on its legal and social development. The Polygamy Question explores the ways in which indigenous and immigrant polygamy have shaped the lives of individuals, communities, and the broader societies that have engaged with it. The book also considers how polygamy challenges our traditional notions of gender and marriage and how it might be effectively regulated to comport with contemporary notions of justice. The contributors to this volume—scholars of law, anthropology, sociology, political science, economics, and religious studies—disentangle diverse forms of polygamy and polyamory practiced among a range of religious and national backgrounds including Mormon and Muslim. They chart the harms and benefits these models have on practicing women, children, and men, whether they are independent families or members of coherent religious groups. Contributors also address the complexities of evaluating this form of marriage and the ethical and legal issues surrounding regulation of the practice, including the pros and cons of legalization. Plural marriage is the next frontier of North American marriage law and possibly the next civil rights battlefield. Students and scholars interested in polygamy, marriage, and family will find much of interest in The Polygamy Question. Contributors include Kerry Abrams, Martha Bailey, Lori Beaman, Janet Bennion, Jonathan Cowden, Shoshana Grossbard, Melanie Heath, Debra Majeed, Rose McDermott, Sarah Song, and Maura Irene Strassberg.
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Modern Polygamy in the United States

Historical, Cultural, and Legal Issues

Author: Cardell Jacobson,Lara Burton

Publisher: OUP USA

ISBN: 0199746370

Category: Family & Relationships

Page: 368

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"At last some light, not just heat, about America's new polygamy scandal, its roots and ramifications. Both well reasoned and well written, this book shows the people and the principles at stake. It will change how you think about both."--Kathleen Flake, Associate Professor of American Religious History, Vanderbilt University --Book Jacket.
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Legalizing Plural Marriage

The Next Frontier in Family Law

Author: Mark Goldfeder

Publisher: Brandeis University Press

ISBN: 1611688361

Category: Law

Page: 240

View: 6985

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Polygamous marriages are currently recognized in nearly fifty countries worldwide. Although polygamy is technically illegal in the United States, it is practiced by members of some religious communities and a growing number of other "poly" groups. In the radically changing and increasingly multicultural world in which we live, the time has come to define polygamous marriage and address its legal feasibilities. Although Mark Goldfeder does not argue the right or wrong of plural marriage, he maintains that polygamy is the next step - after same-sex marriage - in the development of U.S. family law. Providing a road map to show how such legalization could be handled, he explores the legislative and administrative arguments which demonstrate that plural marriage is not as farfetched - or as far off - as we might think. Goldfeder argues not only that polygamy is in keeping with the legislative values and freedoms of the United States, but also that it would not be difficult to manage or administrate within our current legal system. His legal analysis is enriched throughout with examples of plural marriage in diverse cultural and historical contexts. Tackling the issue of polygamy in the United States from a legal perspective, this book will engage anyone interested in constitutional law, family law, or criminal law, along with sociologists and those who study gender and culture in modern times.
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Suffragists in an Imperial Age

U.S. Expansion and the Woman Question, 1870-1929

Author: Allison L. Sneider

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199886512

Category: Social Science

Page: 224

View: 8483

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In 1899, Carrie Chapman Catt, who succeeded Susan B. Anthony as head of the National American Women Suffrage Association, argued that it was the "duty" of U.S. women to help lift the inhabitants of its new island possessions up from "barbarism" to "civilization," a project that would presumably demonstrate the capacity of U.S. women for full citizenship and political rights. Catt, like many suffragists in her day, was well-versed in the language of empire, and infused the cause of suffrage with imperialist zeal in public debate. Unlike their predecessors, who were working for votes for women within the context of slavery and abolition, the next generation of suffragists argued their case against the backdrop of the U.S. expansionism into Indian and Mormon territory at home as well as overseas in the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Hawaii. In this book, Allison L. Sneider carefully examines these simultaneous political movements--woman suffrage and American imperialism--as inextricably intertwined phenomena, instructively complicating the histories of both.
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Religion of a Different Color

Race and the Mormon Struggle for Whiteness

Author: W. Paul Reeve

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0190226277

Category: History

Page: 336

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Mormonism is one of the few homegrown religions in the United States, one that emerged out of the religious fervor of the early nineteenth century. Yet, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have struggled for status and recognition. In this book, W. Paul Reeve explores the ways in which nineteenth century Protestant white America made outsiders out of an inside religious group. Much of what has been written on Mormon otherness centers upon economic, cultural, doctrinal, marital, and political differences that set Mormons apart from mainstream America. Reeve instead looks at how Protestants racialized Mormons, using physical differences in order to define Mormons as non-White to help justify their expulsion from Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois. He analyzes and contextualizes the rhetoric on Mormons as a race with period discussions of the Native American, African American, Oriental, Turk/Islam, and European immigrant races. He also examines how Mormon male, female, and child bodies were characterized in these racialized debates. For instance, while Mormons argued that polygamy was ordained by God, and so created angelic, celestial, and elevated offspring, their opponents suggested that the children were degenerate and deformed. The Protestant white majority was convinced that Mormonism represented a racial-not merely religious-departure from the mainstream and spent considerable effort attempting to deny Mormon whiteness. Being white brought access to political, social, and economic power, all aspects of citizenship in which outsiders sought to limit or prevent Mormon participation. At least a part of those efforts came through persistent attacks on the collective Mormon body, ways in which outsiders suggested that Mormons were physically different, racially more similar to marginalized groups than they were white. Medical doctors went so far as to suggest that Mormon polygamy was spawning a new race. Mormons responded with aspirations toward whiteness. It was a back and forth struggle between what outsiders imagined and what Mormons believed. Mormons ultimately emerged triumphant, but not unscathed. Mormon leaders moved away from universalistic ideals toward segregated priesthood and temples, policies firmly in place by the early twentieth century. So successful were Mormons at claiming whiteness for themselves that by the time Mormon Mitt Romney sought the White House in 2012, he was labeled "the whitest white man to run for office in recent memory." Ending with reflections on ongoing views of the Mormon body, this groundbreaking book brings together literatures on religion, whiteness studies, and nineteenth century racial history with the history of politics and migration.
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"A Peculiar People"

Anti-Mormonism and the Making of Religion in Nineteenth-Century America

Author: J. Spencer Fluhman

Publisher: UNC Press Books

ISBN: 0807837407

Category: Religion

Page: 240

View: 1408

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Though the U.S. Constitution guarantees the free exercise of religion, it does not specify what counts as a religion. From its founding in the 1830s, Mormonism, a homegrown American faith, drew thousands of converts but far more critics. In "A Peculiar People", J. Spencer Fluhman offers a comprehensive history of anti-Mormon thought and the associated passionate debates about religious authenticity in nineteenth-century America. He argues that understanding anti-Mormonism provides critical insight into the American psyche because Mormonism became a potent symbol around which ideas about religion and the state took shape. Fluhman documents how Mormonism was defamed, with attacks often aimed at polygamy, and shows how the new faith supplied a social enemy for a public agitated by the popular press and wracked with social and economic instability. Taking the story to the turn of the century, Fluhman demonstrates how Mormonism's own transformations, the result of both choice and outside force, sapped the strength of the worst anti-Mormon vitriol, triggering the acceptance of Utah into the Union in 1896 and also paving the way for the dramatic, yet still grudging, acceptance of Mormonism as an American religion.
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The Oxford Handbook of Church and State in the United States

Author: Derek H. Davis

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0190208783

Category: Political Science

Page: 592

View: 364

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Study of church and state in the United States is incredibly complex. Scholars working in this area have backgrounds in law, religious studies, history, theology, and politics, among other fields. Historically, they have focused on particular angles or dimensions of the church-state relationship, because the field is so vast. The results have mostly been monographs that focus only on narrow cross-sections of the field, and the few works that do aim to give larger perspectives are reference works of factual compendia, which offer little or no analysis. The Oxford Handbook of Church and State in the United States fills this gap, presenting an extensive, multidimensional overview of the field. Twenty-one essays offer a scholarly look at the intricacies and past and current debates that frame the American system of church and state, within five main areas: history, law, theology/philosophy, politics, and sociology. These essays provide factual accounts, but also address issues, problems, debates, controversies, and, where appropriate, suggest resolutions. They also offer analysis of the range of interpretations of the subject offered by various American scholars. This Handbook is an invaluable resource for the study of church-state relations in the United States.
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