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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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“In the Style of an Independent Sovereign”

“In the Style of an Independent Sovereign”

Mid-Nineteenth-Century Mormon Martial Law Proclamations In American Political Culture

Chapter:
(p.110) Chapter 7 “In the Style of an Independent Sovereign”
Source:
Contingent Citizens
Author(s):
Brent M. Rogers
Publisher:
Cornell University Press
DOI:10.7591/cornell/9781501716737.003.0008

This chapter talks about municipal and territorial authorities that declared martial law within the United States, in which two occurrences involved members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the 1840s and 1850s. It investigates Mormon cases that are set against the context of contemporaneous debates about martial law that illuminate antebellum power politics. It also analyzes the perception of Latter-day Saints and minority groups in general during the era of American political culture. The chapter discusses the duality of the rhetoric surrounding martial law, which elucidates a shifting American mindset that clung to the revolutionary-era ideology invested in a weak government. It describes the tensions among local, state, and federal governments that deal with martial law declarations and reveal the fragility of sovereignty in antebellum America.

Keywords:   martial law, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Mormon, antebellum America, American political culture, revolutionary-era ideology

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