Subduing the Mormons in Utah Territory: Foundation for the insular cases

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The conflict between the US government and the Mormons in Utah Territory during the second half of the nineteenth century reflected shifts in the American territorial system. Through a repudiation of religious practices and dismantling of the Latter-Day Saints’ Church as an institution, the federal government demonstrated a willingness and ability to interfere with and regulate traditional local issues such as marriage and religion. This provided a foundation for the changes to the territorial system outlined by the Supreme Court in the Insular Cases. Scholars have overlooked the continuities between earlier territorial policy and the post-Insular Cases colonial system. Linking the struggle over authority in Utah Territory with the outcome of the Insular Cases as a component of territorial policy history fills this gap and helps to illuminate the policy connections between continental expansion and overseas expansion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)52-77
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Policy History
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Donald Critchlow and Cambridge University Press 2020.


  • Insular Cases
  • Mormons
  • Polygamy
  • Territories
  • Utah Territory


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