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The Mormon Battalion’s Movement to Western America – Part 1: The Journey Begins — History is Now Magazine, Podcasts, Blog and Books

The origins of the battalion lay within the wider context of the Mexican-American War. Also often known as the Mexican War, it was an armed battle between the United States and Mexico from 1846 to 1848. The idea of Manifest Destiny held that the United States had the providential proper to develop to the Pacific Ocean. The United States annexed the Republic of Texas in 1845, which had received independence from Mexico within the Texas Revolution of 1835. Diplomatic efforts to set up an settlement on the Texas-Mexico border, and to buy the territories of California and New Mexico had failed. President James Ok. Polk had despatched an envoy to Mexico with a proposal of up to $20,000,000 ($739,863,157.89 in 2022) in return for California and New Mexico. No Mexican chief can be prepared to cede half his nation and nonetheless have the power to keep in energy, subsequently Polk’s envoy was not obtained. To carry strain, Polk despatched General Zachary Taylor to the disputed space alongside the Rio Grande. When the Mexicans fired on the troops in April of that 12 months, Polk had discovered the rationale he wanted to justify an try to seize the land by power. In a written message to Congress in 1846, Polk defined that “war exists between the two countries because the Mexican government has at last shed the blood of our fellow-citizens on our own soil.”


The prospect of struggle imbued Americans with a powerful sense of patriotism, because it was among the many few issues during which each Northerners and Southerners may agree upon on the time. In the a long time previous the Civil War, the difficulty of slavery remained divisive. According to Jay Sexton, Polk believed that westward enlargement would serve to accomplish his purpose of settling the query of slavery, as Manifest Destiny offered enlargement in racial and territorial phrases. Polk’s agenda throughout his presidency, in contrast to that of his two quick predecessors, can be largely pushed by overseas coverage concerns. In the nineteenth century, quarrels and battle with the European powers, most notably the British Empire, had been nonetheless a matter of concern. However, American leaders believed that their future  was to turn into an imperial energy, whereas additionally aiming for a extra impressed function than their European cousins. 

As the nationwide authorities made its preparations for struggle, regardless of the various hardship of getting to navigate political variations, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was experiencing difficulties of its personal. Known by the pejorative time period of “Mormon” due to their perception within the Book of Mormon, since its founding in 1830, members of the Church often had conflicts, misunderstandings and tough relations due to their spiritual beliefs. Hostile sentiment had brought about them to be compelled out of New York, Missouri and Illinois. In 1844, the Church’s founder, Joseph Smith, was killed at Carthage. The demise of their chief raised questions in regards to the Church’s survival because the Saints confronted elevated persecution. In 1846, tensions reached their peak, and the Saints had been as soon as once more compelled to transfer. Brigham Young succeeded to the place of president, and he sought to transfer the Saints from Nauvoo to the Mountain West.

To the West

Under the management of Young, the Saints believed in their very own manifest future to settle within the West. Norma Ricketts factors out that there have been some 20,000 saints who embarked to cross the prairie, carrying solely what they may in wagons and carts, together with their livestock. During the Winter of 1846, Latter-day Saint leaders in Winter Quarters laid plans for the continued migration of the massive variety of Saints. Upon their arrival in Iowa, Elder Jesse C. Little was tasked with asking the federal government for assist in securing protected passage to the West. Brigham Young and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles noticed this as a possibility to recruit males from among the many Saints to take part in Polk’s War. It was presently that Young first met Thomas L. Kane from Philadelphia with deep private connections to the Polk administration. 

The Polk Administration initially questioned the loyalty of the church, because it was thought that if the Saints moved West, they might doubtlessly be part of forces with a overseas energy and make themselves a risk. The relations between the Church and the federal government had been fraught with stress, as the federal government expressed a hostile indifference to their struggles. Kane, who had turn into pleasant to the Saints, advocated for them, assuring the Polk Administration that they “retained American hearts, and would not side with Mexico.” There had been many among the many Saints who had been reluctant to enlist, nonetheless suspicious of the federal government’s intentions. At the behest of Polk, James Allen was despatched to Mt. Pisgah, to a camp of homeless Latter-day Saints who had been pushed from their properties by anti-Mormon mobs, to recruit a battalion of 500 males to combat. After he met with Brigham Young, Young endorsed the plan, saying that whereas the purpose was not patriotism in itself, taking part would hopefully allay the suspicions of the folks because the Church endeavored to transfer West. 

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Now learn half 2 in regards to the journey west right here.


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