The Mormon Question |
Popular Sovereignty |
Power and Control in the Emerging American West |
Donald R. Moorman's Camp Floyd and The Mormons: The Utah War examines the clash of cultures during and following the expedition, focusing primarily on the effect on the Mormon population after the arrival. When published in 1992, this book became only the second major study on the Utah Expedition and its view into the Mormon perspective is important because that group and its plans were adversely impacted by the coming of the Army for the next forty years. However, it does not broaden the discussion to demonstrate something of understanding United States nineteenth century history and its imperial ideals.
This section receives the title "Occupation" because of an insight gleaned from the word cloud shown in Figure 1. The word cloud illustrates the words occupy, defeat, and advance, which helped generate thinking of this event as defeating the Mormon population in order to occupy the Territory and advance American control.
1 Colonel Albert Sydney Johnston led the Army over 1,000 miles from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas to Utah and through some incredible hardships in the bitter cold. After leaving in August 1857, the troops did not arrive in Salt Lake City until early April 1858, marching unimpeded into the heart of Salt Lake City.
. Word Cloud from highlights words such as occupy, defeat, and advance. Words in context may be different in meaning.
. Recall the path in the image of Salt Lake City in 1857 from the power and control argument section. Here the United States Army is occupying that path and demonstrates the desired control over Utah Territory.
Once in the Salt Lake area, the Army immediately built a military fort to generate a network for control in the West. From the fort, the Army could control the Mormon population, the Indian population, and ensure a safe traveling route West. Post-colonial societies are notorious for using violence, or the threat of violence, to gain control and assume the form of a colonizer over peoples found to be in opposition to the majority. This is what the United States did in Utah in order to ensure that it would be the colonizer and not have its lands taken by another "nation." The Mormons became the colonized and eventually assimilated to the dominant mentality. The uncompromising language, the militant stance, and violent imagery of Mormon public discourses were abandoned as the Civil War approached. The outcome of the occupation by Johnston's army was the death of any reality of the lingering Mormon State of Deseret, or separate national independence within the United States. The Utah Expedition provides a key to answering the Mormon Question and, more importantly, United States imperial designs over conflicting forms of governance and expansionist ideals. An April 25, 1857 Harper's Weekly article stated, "The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican form of Government." In other words, the States must have a Republican form of Government." With the army in place to protect U.S. interests and enforce U.S. ideology in the region, the country seemed satisfied in their position of control. Through the Utah Expedition and the subsequent building of Camp Floyd, the United States ensured that republicanism, not theocracy, would reign in the West.