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A Foreign Kingdom: Mormons and Polygamy in American Political Culture, 1852-1890 Paperback – November 7, 2013
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"Readers will appreciate the clarity of her writing; her careful attention to race, class, and gender; her insertion of Mormon history into broader dialogues."--Journal of Mormon History
"Talbot pulls disparate strands of nineteenth-century political thought together in an account revealing what was really at stake in the battle over polygamy. Her insights are at times striking. She's succeeded in unfolding the underlying cultural logic that formed one of Mormonism's main challenges to the American state: its assault on a powerful configuration of the public/private binary, couched in the languages of constitutional religious liberty." --American Historical Review
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Christina Talbot has written this extensively researched and thorough work as a history of the USA’s attitude towards the Mormons in the 1800’s. She portrays them as undermining sexist attitudes of the time by allowing women to have more of a say in community affairs. She also postulates that polygamy was the result of a gender imbalance; there were more women than men in the community, so competition for husbands was fierce. Without polygamy, the women would have to settle for less decent men.
In the cover cartoon, we see that divorce was also an issue. At the time, men couldn’t divorce their wives if the marriage was unhappy, so the norm was to cheat (or get a hooker and give your wife an STD.) Harper’s weekly had a cartoon that portrayed women migrating to the USA as cooks and maids, which was the norm for women who travelled to the USA alone. But what about educated women who wanted careers and families at the same time? It didn’t work that way; a woman couldn’t have a career and a family of her own. It just didn’t work that way. Most women who had careers (usually teachers or nurses) ended up as old maids.