Mormonism assumes an unusual identity with American history, all the more because it is as native to the United States as Indian corn and the buffalo nickel. We have to specify an American Judaism or an American Catholicism, but Mormonism is American by birth, although the United States was long reluctant to accept the honor. In its New England origins, its Utopian experiments and reforms, its westward drive, and its early expansion to Europe resulting in a great program of immigration and settlement, nineteenth-century Mormonism expressed prominent traits and tendencies that were already shaping American society. It was not simply a colorful reflection of the times; it was a dynamic reworking of the diverse elements of American culture. Mormonism is unique primarily in the way it combined these elements, in what it added or neglected, making it now a perfect epitome of its time and place, and now a puzzling contradiction.