The practice of polygamy among the Mormons during the nineteenth century was vigorously prosecuted by the federal government in response to the demands of those whose political and economic goals could best be served through exploitation of the national attitude toward polygamy. Hundreds of men served prison terms for practicing what they believed was their religious obligation. This study of the sentences from the prison admission records has focused on the comparative severity of the judges, examines age as an influencing factor in sentencing, and compares the sentences of the polygamists with those for crimes against person and property.
The results show which judges were most severe; that some deference was shown the aged, and that judges who gave severe maximum sentences to polygamists did not give such sentences in equal proportion to those convicted of crimes against person and property. The major influence appears to be the selection of the judge in the first place, to be severe or lenient, in response to national attitude against, or influential sympathy for the Mormons.
College and Department
Family, Home, and Social Sciences; History
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Evans, Rosa Mae McClellan, "Judicial Prosecution of Prisoners For LDS Plural Marriage: Prison Sentences, 1884-1895" (1986). All Theses and Dissertations. 4673.
Prison sentences, Utah, Mormons, Polygamy, Prisons, prisoners, Judicial process