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A Foreign KingdomMormons and Polygamy in American Political Culture, 1852-1890$
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Christine Talbot

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780252038082

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252038082.001.0001

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“More the Companion and Much Less the Subordinate”

“More the Companion and Much Less the Subordinate”

Polygamy and Mormon Woman’s Citizenship

Chapter:
(p.63) Chapter 3 “More the Companion and Much Less the Subordinate”
Source:
A Foreign Kingdom
Author(s):

Christine Talbot

Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
DOI:10.5406/illinois/9780252038082.003.0004

This chapter examines one of the paradoxes that has vexed the historiography of Mormon women since its inception: activist Mormon polygamous women who claimed access to citizenship in the name of women's rights. It then studies how and why a community rooted in ecclesiastic patriarchy was among the first to enfranchise women. While polygamy marked woman's ecclesiastical subordination to men, it enabled her civic equality. By undermining the concept of marital unity, plural marriage facilitated women's political equality. Moreover, Mormons, women especially, claimed that plural marriage was compatible with American citizenship and facilitated woman's citizenship because it made her “more the companion and much less the subordinate” of man.

Keywords:   Mormon women, women's rights, ecclesiastic patriarchy, polygamy, plural marriage, American citizenship, women's citizenship

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