Mormonism and American Politics

Paperback | December 8, 2015

EditorRandall Balmer, Jana Riess

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When Joseph Smith ran for president as a radical protest candidate in 1844, Mormons were a deeply distrusted group in American society, and their efforts to enter public life were met with derision. When Mitt Romney ran for president as a Republican in 2008 and 2012, the public had come to regard Mormons as consummate Americans: patriotic, family-oriented, and conservative. How did this shift occur?

In this collection, prominent scholars of Mormonism, including Claudia L. Bushman, Richard Lyman Bushman, Jan Shipps, and Philip L. Barlow, follow the religion's quest for legitimacy in the United States and its intersection with American politics. From Brigham Young's skirmishes with the federal government over polygamy to the Mormon involvement in California's Proposition 8, contributors combine sociology, political science, race and gender studies, and popular culture to track Mormonism's rapid integration into American life. The book takes a broad view of the religion's history, considering its treatment of women and African Americans and its portrayal in popular culture and the media. With essays from both Mormon and non-Mormon scholars, this anthology tells a big-picture story of a small sect that became a major player in American politics.

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When Joseph Smith ran for president as a radical protest candidate in 1844, Mormons were a deeply distrusted group in American society, and their efforts to enter public life were met with derision. When Mitt Romney ran for president as a Republican in 2008 and 2012, the public had come to regard Mormons as consummate Americans: patri...

Randall Balmer is chair of the religion department and John Phillips Professor in Religion at Dartmouth College. An award-winning historian, his books include God in the White House: How Faith Shaped the Presidency from John F. Kennedy to George W. Bush and Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory: A Journey into the Evangelical Subculture in Am...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:264 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.68 inPublished:December 8, 2015Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231165994

ISBN - 13:9780231165990

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Table of Contents

List of IllustrationsIntroduction, by Randall Balmer and Jana RiessPart I: Origins and Tensions1. Joseph Smith's Presidential Ambitions, by Richard Lyman Bushman2. Unpopular Sovereignty: Brigham Young and the U.S. Government, 1847-1877, by John G. Turner3. Polygamy in the Nation's Capitol: Protestant Women and the 1899 Campaign Against B. H. Roberts, by Jana Riess4. Eternal Progression: Mormonism and American Progressivism, by Matthew BowmanPart II: Shifting Alliances5. Ezra Taft Benson and the Conservative Turn of "Those Amazing Mormons," by Jan Shipps6. Testimony and Theology: The Mormon Struggle with America's Civil Religion, by Russell Arben Fox7. Chosen Land, Chosen People: Religious and American Exceptionalism Among the Mormons, by Philip L. Barlow8. Like Father, Unlike Son: The Governors Romney, the Kennedy Paradigm, and the Mormon Question, by Randall BalmerPart III: Into the Twenty-first Century9. A Politically Peculiar People: How Mormons Moved into and Then out of the Political Mainstream, by David E. Campbell, Christopher F. Karpowitz and J. Quin Monson10. "Twice-told Tale": Telling Two Histories of Mormon-Black Relations During the 2012 Presidential Election, by Max Perry Mueller11. Mormon Women Talk Politics, by Claudia L. Bushman12. On the "Underground": What the Mormon "Yes on 8" Campaign Reveals About the Future of Mormons in American Political Life, by Joanna Brooks13. Mitt, Mormonism, and the Media: An Unfamiliar Faith Takes the Stage in the 2012 U.S. Presidential Election, by Peggy Fletcher StackList of ContributorsIndex

Editorial Reviews

The strengths of this volume is its combination of accessibility and scholarly originality.