The Americanization of monogamy : Mormons, Native Americans and the nineteenth-century perception that polygamy was a threat to democracy
University of Minnesota
During the last half of the nineteenth century, the United States engaged in an intensive campaign to 'Americanize' two groups within its borders, Mormons and Native Americans. Like other groups on the margins of nineteenth-century American society, Mormons and Native Americans did not fit prevailing notions of what it meant to be 'American,' and a comparison of the two campaigns reveals some broad outlines of what reformers perceived as a homogeneous American national identity. This identity was rooted in three major principles--monogamous families, private property, and democratic government--all of which were seen as interconnected and ultimately inseparable. Consequently, both Mormons and Native Americans were the objects of intense efforts to eradicate polygamy from the American landscape.