Thomas L. Kane and the Mormon Problem in National Politics
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. This essay explores instances in which Kane assisted the Mormons and the people of Utah in their dealings with the federal government. After the Mormons began to leave their temporary settlements on the Missouri River in 1847 to settle in Utah, three key events marked Thomas L. Kane's experience with the problems of the Mormons in national politics: (1) the Mormons' quest for statehood or territorial organization in 1849 and 1850; (2) the dispute over federally appointed officials in 1851 and 1852; and (3) the conflicts created by the judicial administration of James B. McKean in the early 1870s.