John Henry Smith (pictured) campaigned in Utah Territory to convince the Latter-day Saints that it ''was possible to be a good Mormon and a good Republican.''
In the year 2000, observers speak with concern about Utah being dominated by one political party. It's not the first time.In the 1890s. . .as Utah neared statehood. . .national political leaders had the same complaint, with a twist.Utah and its Mormon population were viewed as nearly 100-percent Democrat.Because of the strong anti-polygamy stand of the Republican Party, very few members of the Mormon Church wanted to join the GOP. Realizing a gesture of balance had to be made, Mormon Church leaders sent apostle John Henry Smith on the stump to convince Mormon congregations that it was possible to be a good Latter-day Saint, and a good Republican. The membership drive was so effective that Republicans were soon competitive in Democrat-controlled Utah.
It's a page from our political history. . .in 2000 your vote will help write the next chapter.
As Utah's first U.S. Senator, Arthur Brown (pictured) served only one twelve-month term before leaving office in March 1897.
If you think questions of morality are only part of the contemporary political scene, you need to be reminded of Utah's first United States Senator. As Utah neared statehood in the 1890s, attorney Arthur Brown rose steadily in the local Republican Party ranks. . . eventually being selected by the legislature to serve as Utah's first senator in Washington.
At the same time, Senator Brown started an affair with a woman thirty years his junior. The rumors and fading public confidence resulted in Brown serving only one year. Brown's mistress claimed the senator had fathered her children. And when Arthur Brown refused to marry the woman, she shot him in a Washington hotel room. So ended the life of Utah's first United States Senator.
It's a little known page from Utah's political past. . .your vote in 2000 can help write the next chapter of history.
Martha Hughes Cannon (pictured) paved the road for women in politics by serving as the nation's first woman state senator.
Utah has been on the cutting edge of political opportunity for women. Apart from being one of the first territories to grant women the right to vote, Utah also holds the distinction of electing the nation's first woman state senator. By any description, Martha Hughes Cannon was a remarkable individual. She graduated from medical school in 1882. . .and was one of the first staff physicians for the old Deseret Hospital, a predecessor of LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City. The fourth of sixth wives of a high-ranking Mormon Church official, she was forced to flee the state and live underground during anti-polygamy crackdowns.
In 1896 she ran for a seat on the soon-to-be-empaneled Utah State Senate as a Democrat. Her husband ran for the same body as a Republican. Dr. Martha Hughes Cannon was elected...the first woman state senator in the United States.
It's a page from Utah's political history. . .in 2000 your vote can help write the next chapter.
1896: Struggle for Statehood
Utah was finally admitted to the Union on January 6, 1896, and citizens of all ages celebrated with flags bearing forty-five stars. Fifty states have been admitted to the Union. . .but none weathered the rejection endured by Utah. Over forty years Utah made six formal bids to be admitted. . .and each was firmly rejected by Congress. The issue most-often cited was the practice of plural marriage in the Utah Territory by members of the Mormon Church. But in reality, the greatest concern was a perception of the role of church and state in this unique location. No other state had been settled, organized and developed over time around a religious commitment.
Utah was admitted in 1896, when a seventh try at a state constitution reflected congressional mandates on a free economy, separation of church and state, political freedom and an absolute ban of plural marriage. Some waited longer, but none tried more often for admission.
It's a page from our political past. This year, your vote will help write the next chapter of Utah's history.