The Mormon Rebellion: America's First Civil War, 1857-1858

The Mormon Rebellion: America's First Civil War, 1857-1858

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The Mormon Rebellion: America's First Civil War, 1857-1858 by David L. Bigler, Will Bagley


In 1857 President James Buchanan ordered U.S. troops to Utah to replace Brigham Young as governor and restore order in what the federal government viewed as a territory in rebellion. In this compelling narrative, award-winning authors David L. Bigler and Will Bagley use long-suppressed sources to show that—contrary to common perception—the Mormon rebellion was not the result of Buchanan's "blunder," nor was it a David-and-Goliath tale in which an abused religious minority heroically defied the imperial ambitions of an unjust and tyrannical government. They argue that Mormon leaders had their own far-reaching ambitions and fully intended to establish an independent nation—the Kingdom of God—in the West.

Long overshadowed by the Civil War, the tragic story of this conflict involved a tense and protracted clash pitting Brigham Young's Nauvoo Legion against Colonel Albert Sidney Johnston and the U.S. Army's Utah Expedition. In the end, the conflict between the two armies saw no pitched battles, but in the authors' view, Buchanan's decision to order troops to Utah, his so-called blunder, eventually proved decisive and beneficial for both Mormons and the American republic.

A rich exploration of events and forces that presaged the Civil War, The Mormon Rebellion broadens our understanding of both antebellum America and Utah's frontier theocracy and offers a challenging reinterpretation of a controversial chapter in Mormon annals.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780806143156
Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press
Publication date: 08/01/2012
Pages: 408
Sales rank: 1,300,286
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Independent historian David L. Bigler is a Utah native, a veteran of World War II and the Korean War, and a University of Utah graduate in journalism. He received an honorary doctor of letters degree from Southern Utah State College at Cedar City, now Southern Utah University. He retired as director of public affairs for U.S. Steel in 1986 to devote full time to Mormon and western history. He is a fellow and an honorary life member, Utah State Historical Society; a former director, Utah State Board of History and Friends of University of Utah Libraries; and past president, Oregon-California Trails Association. His books and articles have won awards from the Utah State Historical Society, Westerners International and The Mormon History Association. His books include The Gold Discovery Journal of Azariah Smith, University of Utah Press, 1990; Forgotten Kingdom: The Mormon Theocracy in the American West, 1847-1896, Arthur H. Clark, 1998; Army of Israel: Mormon Battalion Narratives, with Will Bagley, Arthur H. Clark, 2000; A Winter with the Mormons: The 1852 Letters of Jotham Goodell, Marriott Library, University of Utah, 2001; Fort Limhi: The Mormon Adventure in Oregon Territory, 1855-1857, Arthur H. Clark, 2003; and, with Will Bagley, Innocent Blood: Essential Narratives of the Mountain Meadows Massacre, Arthur H. Clark, 2008. He and his wife, Evah, reside in Roseville, California.

Will Bagley is an independent historian who has written about overland emigration, frontier violence, railroads, mining, and the Mormons. Bagley has published extensively over the years and is the author and editor of many books, articles, and reviews in professional journals. Bagley is the series editor of Arthur H. Clark Company's documentary history series, KINGDOM IN THE WEST: The Mormons and the American Frontier. Bagley has been a Wallace Stegner Centennial Fellow at the University of Utah and the Archibald Hannah, Jr. Fellow in American History at Yale University's Beinecke Library. Blood of the Prophets: Brigham Young and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows has won numerous awards including a Spur Award from Western Writers of America, the Bancroft History Prize from the Denver Public Library, Westerners International Best Book, and the Western History Association Caughey Book Prize for the most distinguished book on the history of the American West. So Rugged and Mountainous: Blazing the Trails to Oregon and California, 1812-1848 is the first of four volumes of Overland West: The Story of the Oregon and California Trails Series.

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