The 1900 elections have been little touched in historical studies of Utah. However 1900 was a year of special interest and deserves an examination. In that year a Special Election was held, all state offices were up for renewal and a Presidential Election took place.

The special election was necessary because B. H. Roberts had been denied his seat in the United States Congress. Roberts was excluded because he was a polygamist. The Roberts case threatened to revive gentile versus Mormon antipathies in Utah. However, the most puzzling aspect of the 1900 elections is connected with the presidential vote. In 1896 Bryan, a Democrat, received 82.7% of the Utah vote for President. His Republican opponent, McKinley, polled only 17.2%. Yet nationally Bryan received 49.4% of the total vote while McKinley took 50.6%. In 1900 in Utah Bryan only received 48.1% and McKinley polled 50.7% of the vote. Their national percentages were little changed from 1896. Because there was a vote change of 34.6% men searched for some reason to explain such a dramatic shift of votes. Some people charged that the Mormon Church had entered politics and made a deal with the Democratic Party. People said this was done in return for assurances that the federal government would not press too hard on polygamy prosecutions and would stop the proposed anti-polygamy amendment to the Constitution.

This thesis will attempt to determine what happened in the 1900 elections in Utah. The thesis will also search for reasons for the results of the elections.



College and Department

Family, Home, and Social Sciences; History



Date Submitted


Document Type





Elections, Utah, Politics, government, 1896-1950, Mormon Church, Political activity