Mormon Nauvoo in Jacksonian America.

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Winkler, Phillip
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Middle Tennessee State University
The Mormon settlement of Nauvoo, Illinois (1828-1846) was not only the largest Mormon gathering for the time period, but was also a focal point of new theological teachings and political opportunism. Nauvoo's setting in the western frontier, its large military establishment known as the Nauvoo Legion, and its exceptional growth combined with the Mormons' use of the block vote resulted in the local non-Mormons perceiving the inhabitants of Nauvoo as a threat to economic and civil security. The city of Nauvoo grew rapidly, but not without consistent economic problems, housing shortages, and political attacks resulting from its irresponsible and questionable use of the judicial powers granted under the city charter. The state of Illinois was also growing and suffered from economic problems, constitutional challenges to its judicial powers and the rights to alien voting. During this era of rise of the common man the United States experienced problems with growth and economics. This study illustrates that Nauvoo was tied to the economy and politics of the nation. The city was affected by events taking place within and outside the state of Illinois. No one group or city can exist in an isolated atmosphere without human aid or challenges. The nation was moving to the west and men dreamed of building new places. The political focus of the nation centered on Illinois and Tennessee. It was a time of an abundance of new ideas, new concepts, and growth in Christianity. The fall of Nauvoo was a result of human error and prejudice. The Illinois non-Mormon leadership, who were men of property, sought additional resources beyond moral and legal boundaries and attempted to control the Mormon vote. The Mormon administration of the city, while experimenting with new theological concepts, fell victims to egotism and autocratic leadership. The Mormon movement consistently diminished the growth of democracy. Any dissenters were forced out of the church and the city. The fall of Nauvoo re