The "Sangamo Journal's" "Rebecca" and the "Democratic Pets": Abraham Lincoln's Interaction with Mormonism


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It was not unusual for the Sangamo Journal, printed in Spring field Illinois, to comment on the Mormons during the 1840s: 137 articles mentioned the topic during the decade. What makes the September 2, 1842, issue of the Sangamo Journal notable was not its criticism of the Mormons, but rather the authorship of one of its editorials. "Rebecca," who identified herself a farming widow in the county, expressed her discontent with the evil course of affairs in Il linois. "Rebecca" sarcastically remarked, "A pretty mess they [the Democrats] have made of it. . . . This State Bank of Illinois will never become prosperous until the Whig party are in power. And look at the Mormons—'Democratic pets! A few days later, Rebecca sneered, '"This plan of securing gold for office holders'—was a trick, undoubtedly arranged before the election; even the Mormon votes could not have moved the party."When "Rebecca's" additional sarcastic editorials resulted in an offended party's challenging the alleged widow to a duel, Abraham Lincoln claimed author ship of the second letter: "I did write the 'Lost Township' letter [by "Rebecca"] which appeared in the Journal of the 2d inst."

Original Publication Citation

Woodger, Mary Jane and Wendy V. White, “ The Sangamo Journal’s ‘Rebecca’ and the ‘Democratic Pets’: Abraham Lincoln’s Interaction with Mormonism,” no.4, Fall 2010, Journal of Mormon History, 36: 96-128.

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Peer-Reviewed Article

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Religious Education


Church History and Doctrine

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor