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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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PRINTED FROM Cornell University Press SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.cornell.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Cornell University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in Cornell for personal use. date: 29 July 2021

“Like a Swarm of Locusts”

“Like a Swarm of Locusts”

Perceptions of Mormon Geopolitical Power in a Non-Us West, 1844–1848

(p.92) Chapter 6 “Like a Swarm of Locusts”
Contingent Citizens
Thomas Richards Jr.
Cornell University Press

This chapter talks about Lieutenant Washington Bartlett of the USS Portsmouth, who believed that the two hundred Mormon seafaring migrants that arrived in San Francisco presaged a much larger overland Mormon migration from Nauvoo, Illinois. It describes Bartlett's doubt of Sam Brannan's American patriotism and the patriotism of other Mormon leaders like Brigham Young. It also looks into Bartlett's comparison of the Mormons to a “swarm of locusts” and a “vast horde” that reveals his perception of Mormons as a very real geopolitical threat, whose arrival in California would irrevocably ruin the territory's potential prosperity. The chapter examines Bartlett's fear of the Mormon arrival that reflected the fact that he made no presumption about US sovereignty over California. It discusses how Mormon leaders understood the contingency of western geopolitics.

Keywords:   Lieutenant Washington Bartlett, migrants, Brigham Young, Sam Brannan, American patriotism, swarm of locusts, US sovereignty

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