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Contingent CitizensShifting Perceptions of Latter-day Saints in American Political Culture$
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Spencer W. McBride, Brent M. Rogers, and Keith A. Erekson

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501716737

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501716737.001.0001

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“Many Think This Is a Hoax”

“Many Think This Is a Hoax”

The Newspaper Response to Joseph Smith’s 1844 Presidential Campaign

(p.29) Chapter 2 “Many Think This Is a Hoax”
Contingent Citizens
Spencer W. McBride
Cornell University Press

This chapter discusses the issue on religious liberty that drove Joseph Smith into the 1844 presidential election. It explains how Joseph Smith wrapped his call for a federal government that is empowered to protect the citizenship rights of religious minority groups in a seven-point platform aimed at sweeping political and social reform. It also describes how Joseph Smith advocated for the reestablishment of the national bank, the end of the burgeoning penitentiary system, the territorial expansion of the United States throughout North America, and the abolition of slavery. The chapter investigates how newspapers focused on Joseph Smith as a leader of a rising religious group that deemed to be fanatical by mainstream Protestants. It discusses the ecclesiastical position of Joseph Smith's presidential candidacy that might influence the way the American public viewed him.

Keywords:   religious liberty, Joseph Smith, penitentiary system, national bank, mainstream Protestants, presidential candidacy

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