So after reading and writing for about a week, and a couple of months of reading before that I am finally finished my first draft of this essay. Hattip to those who are going to read it over!
With the completion, and some (small I hope) revision I am finished my last history essay for my bacheolors degree. I am hoping it is considered a solid essay but if not I am still happy with it.
One thing writing it has done is made me very curious about one of the key figures of the Anti-polygamist Crusade, Senator George Edmunds. Reading his take on Mormonism in the Harper’s Magazine I was impressed with his grasp on what the Mormon leaders were attempting to do. I do think he came to faulty conclusions but he still seems like he was one of the more interesting Gilded Age Senators.
The other thing of note, how many of these books are written by women. I was surprised that many of the later, and in some cases better works are written by the likes of Sarah Barringer Gordon, Kathleen Flake, Jessie Embry and Joan Smyth Iverson. I express surprise not from the standpoint of the women, but I am left to wonder why more men do not write about this era, especially in the last 10 years.
Anyway fascinating stuff, I heartily recommend the following books for a basis of understanding the era:
The Mormon Question: Polygamy and Constitutional Conflict in the Nineteenth Century, written by Sarah Barringer Gordon. It was the book I felt offered an interesting perspective on the politics and legal fight for and against polygamy.
Mormon Polygamist Families written by Jessica Embry. It breaks down a lot of the details of Mormon society and does so in a way that offers some sense that there was a lot of variation in these plural marriages.
The Politics of American Relgious Identity: The Seating of Senator Reed Smoot, Mormon Apostle. I have talked about Professor Flakes’ work elsewhere so go read it there.
Mormon Polygamy: A History by Richard Von Wagoner, I think this book worked as a good overview of polygamy, while it is not in depth enough for me it certainly pointed you to the salient points.
Joan Smyth Iverson’s work on the Mormon Woman’s Suffrage movement is fascinating and a topic I knew little about before reading her work on it.
Anyway there is my overall review and mini annotiated bibliography.
UPDATE: Thanks to David in #1. It now reads corrected Jessie. I corrected things now so if Jessie should ever read this blog let me apologise. I hate it when I do that because I have always had a pet peeve about people mispelling my name.