Full of Courage: Thomas L. Kane, the Utah War, and BYU’s Kane Collection as Lodestone

This article, originally a lecture given at Brigham Young University in 2009, was published as part of a special issue of BYU Studies featuring Thomas L. Kane. Although Kane was not a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he was an advocate for the Mormon cause and a trusted friend of Mormon leaders for almost forty years. MacKinnon explores the significance of Kane’s role in helping to resolve peacefully the Utah War of 1857–58 by exploring what the Utah War was, when and how Thomas L. Kane became involved in it, what Kane’s motives for involvement were, whether Kane was a Latter-day Saint, and what was the significance of Kane’s efforts. In dealing with these five areas of inquiry, the author discusses the Kane collection at Brigham Young University and shows how it is a sort of compass essential to navigating Kane’s very complex psyche as he, in turn, maneuvered through a murky and still poorly understood federal-territorial conflict.

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