Annotated Bibliography

Bederman, Gail. Manliness and Civilization: A Cultural History of Gender and Race in the United States, 1890-1917. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1995.

  • This book investigates the social tensions between race and class in America at the turn of the century. It investigates the notions of “manliness” and the comparisons in society between what attributes are associated with a “civil” man in society, and that of a “savage” man who is not “civil.” Polygamy could be viewed as a “savage” act as thus rendering it difficult for a polygamous man to uphold his “civility” in American society. The Mormons had to claim that they did, however, maintain their civility, despite their plural marriages, because practicing polygamy was rather a religious duty, than an inability to restrain their sexual nature. 

“Church History,” The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, accessed October 18, 2011,

  • This is the official website of the Church of Latter-Day Saints. It is interesting to study how the church portrays its history, although most of the articles that I viewed appeared to be relatively objective. Due to an 1830 mandate, the church is to maintain records of “all things which shall be for the good of the church, and for the rising generations that shall grow up on the land." Because of this, the site has a wealth of resources.


Corrigan, John and Neal, Lynn S. Religious Intolerance in America (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2010).

  • This is used primarily as a reference book, as contains primary texts and sources of religious discrimination, specifically in America. Considered a “documentary history” this text depicts various forms of religious intolerance in America. 


Davis, Ray J. “Plural Marriage and Religious Freedom: The Impact of Reynolds v. United States,” Arizona Law Review 15 (1973): 287-306, accessed October 18, 2011, doi

  • Found in a law journal, Davis’s article follows the ways in which the Reynolds v. United States Supreme Court case impacted not only the Mormons, but American Society as a whole. This case had no preceding cases to back it, so it was particularly unique. Davis outlines the legal issues of the Court’s rulings, and how it created a tension between societal values, and individual issues. I use Davis’ article mostly as a reference for the case, although his depiction of the tensions between societal interests and individual interests prove very helpful.


Driggs, Ken. “Twentieth-Century Polygamy and Fundamentalist Mormons in Southern Utah,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, 24 (1991): 44-58. Accessed Tuesday October 18, 2011, doi:

  • Driggs seeks to investigate the ambiguities and uncertainties in the Mormon community following the 1890 Manifesto, which in turn lead to a split within the Mormon community. In this way tension within the community increased between those who followed the new church doctrine, and those who continued to practice Polygamy. Driggs demonstrates methods that the Church leaders applied in order to enforce the anti-polygamy doctrine. I will use this source to demonstrate how the 1890 Manifesto did not immediately change the Mormon family structure, but that it was the start of more stringent anti-polygamy programs within the Church of LDS.



Firmage, Edwin B. “Free Exercise of Religion in Nineteenth Century America: The Mormon Cases,” Journal of Law and Religion 7 (1989): 281-313, accessed October 18, 2011, doi

  • Firmage first calls attention to the fact that the Mormons sought to create an environment in which they could freely practice their religious faith, as they hoped to maintain a degree of separation from the rest of the country. However, Firmage continues to illustrate how discriminatory acts along with the Reynolds act, continued to punish the Mormons for their “separateness.” Firmage depicts a “war” waged against the Mormons, violating them of many civil rights, including inheritance rights, voting rights, and most interesting to me, the denial of citizenship to immigrant Mormons. For me, this source clearly displays the Mormons as a people “in-between” as it outlines the ways in which they were discriminated against due to their practices.


Grow, Matthew J. “The Suffering Saints: Thomas L. Kane, Democratic Reform, and the Mormon Question in Antebellum America,” Journal of the Early Republic (2009): 29, accessed November 22, 2011, doi:

  • Matthew Gross clearly portrays the actions as well as the motives of reformer Thomas L. Kane, who was not himself a member of the LDS. Gross explores the ways in which Kane manipulated the media to ease the tensions between the Mormons church and American society. I use Kane’ story as an early illustration of first what the tensions were between the Mormons and American society, even before the practice of polygamy, and then how the confirmation of polygamy changes those norms as well. I think that Kane’s story represents a full depiction of the changing sentiments in the church in the mid 19th century.

Thomason, Gordon C. “The Manifesto was a Victory!” Dialogue Journal, 6 (1971): 37-45, accessed October 18, 2011, doi:

  • Article argues that the end of Polygamy and the rulings of Reynolds vs. US was actually a victory for the Mormons. He argues that the American government worked to destroy all existing plural families, through their laws and civil rights violations. Thomason instead argues that the Mormon’s hesitance to follow the rulings demonstrated that Mormons were loyal to the doctrine of God, rather than that of the law. With the 1890 Manifesto however, the Mormons then refrained from their practice of Polygamy, because that is a revelation from God. By waiting for God’s orders instead of the court’s orders, the Mormons were victorious. Although this source appears to be biased, but it is an interesting perspective and interpretation of the Reynold’s case. I will use Thomason's voice to represent a man who defends that the motives of the 1890 Manifesto were valid. 

U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life, June 2008.

  • This survey demonstrates the religious landscape of contemporary America. I use it as an objective source which demonstrates how relevant this religion is in American society. The survey depicts the religious landscape of America, as well as it additionally portrays the religiosity of the Mormon people, and some of their beliefs.