The Antipolygamy Controversy in U.S. Women’s Movements, 1880-1925

The Antipolygamy Controversy in U.S. Women’s Movements, 1880–1925 situates antipolygamy controversies within the larger contexts of U.S. political and women’s history. The second volume in Garland’s Development of American Feminism series, this work, written by a non-LDS author, argues that antipolygamy discourse arose in the context of the nineteenth-century view of the moral superiority of women and then faded when that viewpoint became largely irrelevant to the new feminism of the 1920.

This text explores antipolygamy controversy in three U.S. women’s movements: First, the campaign against patriarchal power in the 1880s as part of the ongoing struggle to define the post–Civil War family; second, the struggle to maintain traditional values against the collapse of Victorian mores at the end of the nineteenth century; and third, the 1910–11 national media barrage against the Church for its alleged duplicity on the practice of plural marriage. The text recounts the national fervor against plural marriage but does not itself participate in that vitriol. Indeed, the author acknowledges that Latter-day Saint plural marriage “can only be understood as a religious principle.”

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