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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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Precarious Protestant Democracy

Precarious Protestant Democracy

Mormon and Catholic Conceptions of Democratic Rule in the 1840s

(p.42) Chapter 3 Precarious Protestant Democracy
Contingent Citizens
Benjamin E. Park
Cornell University Press

This chapter recounts the nativist revolt in Philadelphia that laid siege to the Irish Catholic population and describes the riot that was stirred by leaders of the mob when they declared that they must defend America from “the bloody hand of the Pope.” It analyzes how both the Mormon and Catholic communities were considered outcasts from America's Protestant society. It also explores why many Americans in the nineteenth century perceive Catholics and Mormons as a direct threat to the nation's democratic order, while members of both denominations proclaimed that the nation's Protestant majority had failed to protect their rights as minority groups. The chapter places Mormonism's political actions during the 1840s within the context of Catholicism's similar struggle, which took place around the same time. It focuses on electoral politics as well as controversial forms of sovereignty, especially Mormonism's Council of Fifty.

Keywords:   nativist revolt, Irish Catholic, Mormon, Protestant society, Mormonism, Catholicism, Council of Fifty

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