In the late 19th century, a total of twelve Mormon polygamy cases reached the Supreme Court of the United States, and the court found in favor of the Mormons in only three of these cases. Three of the decisions that went against the Mormons were of special significance, but before evaluating each one the authors briefly explore the legal landscape of the time. They explain the doctrine of enumerated powers, which holds that the government had no power other than that affirmatively granted to it by the Constitution. At first the interpretation of this power was narrow, but the Mormon polygamy cases overruled the narrow reading, seen in the Dred Scott case, of the property clause and 'discovered' a general federal power to regulate activities in all territories. These cases, which for the first time brought into sharp focus the inherent conflict between government power and individual rights, arose at a crossroads in the development of American constitutional law. They were decided after the enumerated powers doctrine had lost much of its force, but before the constitutional guarantees of individual liberty had begun their modern expansion under the 'heightened scrutiny' approach. The authors go into some detail in describing the three cases: Reynolds v. United States (1879); Davis v. Beason; The Late Corporation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints v. United States. The primary significance of the Reynolds case in development of constitutional law is that it introduced the belief/action distinction, which still retains some limited vitality. It was unduly narrow in ints interpretation of the Free Exercise Clause, but it ironically sowed the seeds of the Court's later expansion of the Establishment Clause. The Davis v. Beason case upheld an Idaho territorial law denying Mormons the right to vote, and the authors explain why they believe it was an incorrect and insupportable decision. The 'Late Corporation' case was an extremely complex one, in which the Church argued that its dissolution under the Edmunds-Tucker Act was unconstitutional and that the Edmunds-Tucker Act itself was unconstitutional. The Court rejected its arguments, however, and the authors explain their reasons for thinking this was a bad decision. Four months after the decision, however, the Manifesto was issued, and it referred specifically to laws enacted against plural marriage and their being pronounced constitutional by the 'court of last resort.'