Philander C. Knox and the Crusade against Mormonism, 1904-1907
Western Pennsylvania History Magazine
Philander C. Knox entered the U.S. Senate in 1904 in the middle of an investigation of Utah Senator Reed Smoot, whose position in the Mormon Church had offended some Protestants and led to a national movement to prevent him from taking his seat. Knox was appointed to the Privileges and Elections committee which was investigating Smoot and took the unpopular stand of supporting Smoot on the grounds that, personally, he had done nothing wrong. After three years of controversy the final debate took place in 1907 and Knox's impassioned speech in support of seating Smoot was instrumental in bringing about a favorable vote of 42 to 28. Knox went on to become Secretary of State under Taft, partly because of the national attention he received in this incident. Primary and secondary sources.