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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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“They Can Not Exist in Contact with Republican Institutions”

“They Can Not Exist in Contact with Republican Institutions”

Consent, Contract, and Citizenship under “Polygamic Theocracy”

Chapter:
(p.105) Chapter 5 “They Can Not Exist in Contact with Republican Institutions”
Source:
A Foreign Kingdom
Author(s):

Christine Talbot

Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
DOI:10.5406/illinois/9780252038082.003.0006

This chapter explores the connections anti-Mormons made between private and public in Mormonism. They contended that the institution of polygamy was inseparable from the practice of political theocracy in Utah and that polygamy replaced the marital contract with male tyranny in the household. That tyranny, by extension, replaced the fraternal contract of a republican social order with patriarchal political despotism that flew in the face of American political values. Moreover, anti-Mormons claimed that because of polygamy, the structure of government in Utah was imbued with Church authority and constituted the invasion of an illegal polygamic theocracy into republican government. Indeed, anti-Mormons convinced themselves that Mormon polygamic theocracy was a grave threat to republican government and threatened the very essence of Americanness.

Keywords:   anti-Mormons, Mormonism, polygamy, political theocracy, male tyranny, patriarchal political despotism, Church authority, polygamic theocracy, Americanness

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