Front Matter The Beginning of the U.S Franklin's Return Troubles After the War The Constitution The First President Washington's Troubles A Wonderful Invention Death of Washington The U.S. Buys Land War With African Pirates Death of Somers The First Steamboat The Gerrymander The War of 1812 "Don't Give Up the Ship" The Star-Spangled Banner Clinton's "Big Ditch" More Land Bought Jackson Stories Jackson's Presidency New Inventions Whitman's Ride The Mormons The First Telegraph The Mexican War The Slavery Quarrel Daniel Webster's Youth Webster's Speeches Early Times in California Discovery of El Dorado Rush to California The Underground Railroad The First World's Fair John Brown's Raid Lincoln's Youth The First Shot The Call to Arms The President's Decision Admiral Farragut The Monitor and Merrimac The Penninsular Campaign Barbara Frietchie Lincoln's Vow The Battle of Gettysburg The Taking of Vicksburg Riots, Raids, and Battles The Burning of Atlanta The March to the Sea Sheridan's Ride The Doings of the Fleet Lee's Surrender Decoration Day Lincoln Stories Lincoln's Rebukes A President's Son A Noble Southerner Hard Times in the South The Atlantic Cable Best Way to Settle Quarrels Our One Hundredth Birthday Gold for Greenbacks A Clever Engineer Death of Garfield The Celebration at Yorktown The Great Statue A Terrible Flood Lynch Law The Great White City The Explosion of the Maine The Battle of Manila Hobson's Brave Deed Surrender of Santiago The Hawaiian Islands The Annexation of Hawaii The Philippine War Assassination of McKinley The Panama Canal Roosevelt's Administration Two Presidents German Views The World War Since the World War

Story of the Great Republic - Helene Guerber

The Mormons

Each state in our Union is allowed to govern itself by any set of laws it pleases, provided these laws do not conflict with the Constitution of the United States, which all are equally bound to obey.

In 1841 the people of Rhode Island were not satisfied with their state constitution, because, among other things which they did not like, it said only property owners could vote. It was therefore agreed that a new constitution or set of laws should be made, and when that was done the people chose Thomas W. Dorr for governor.

But the old governor, Samuel W. King, refused to give up his place to Dorr, and said the new constitution should not be obeyed, because it had not been adopted by vote of the property owners. As Governor Dorr and his party would not listen to this, and tried to seize the state arms, there was some trouble in Rhode Island. Although Dorr himself was caught and put in prison, the "Dorr Rebellion," as it is called, went on until the property owners adopted a new and better constitution.

At about the same time the tenants of some great land-holders in New York also revolted, saying they would not pay rent. But when they threatened to make serious trouble, troops were sent to put an end to what is known as the Helderberg War. The soldiers were called out, because, although people in the United States are free, they are not allowed to disobey the laws made by the greatest number.

Minds were very active at this time, and many people talked of their theories of life. You will not be surprised, therefore, to hear that a Scotchman, Robert Owen, said that all men ought to live exactly alike. He declared there should be no rich or poor people, and that all kinds of work should earn the same pay. Thinking this could be managed, he bought land in several states, and started what were known as "Owenite communities." But although his ideas sounded very well, the people soon grew tired of living all alike and having everything in common. The Owenite communities therefore broke up, after having lasted only a few years.

Another man, named Joseph Smith, claimed, in 1827, to have been helped by an angel to find the "Book of Mormon," which is an account of a people chosen by God to live in America, many hundreds of years ago. The book was said to have been written on golden plates, in a language which could be read only by means of two precious stones, called Urim and Thummim.



Smith printed this book in English in 1830, claiming that Christians should accept it in addition to the Bible. Many people believed his teaching, and considered him a prophet; so they went to live with him first in Ohio, then in Missouri, and lastly at Nauvoo, in Illinois. Here they built a town, and began a fine temple, but as the people around them did not like them or their teachings, trouble soon arose. Smith was killed, and his people were next led by Brigham Young, a man they greatly respected. He said that a man could have several wives, but as polygamy (having more than one wife) is not allowed in any part of our country, he had to take his people first to Council Bluffs, and from there to Utah, which then belonged to Mexico. It was only after the Mexican War that Utah became a territory in our country.

This journey across the plains was both long and tedious, but the Mormons, who believed they were led by a special order from God, went bravely on. They divided their forces and marched and camped like the Israelites in the days of Moses, for they said they, too, were going in search of a Promised Land. When they finally beheld the Utah basin from the top of the surrounding mountains they greeted it as their future home with loud songs of praise.

Mormon Temple


Before long, they began to send out missionaries, and Mormonism, the religion taught by Smith, was preached everywhere, until converts from every state and from every country in Europe went to live in Utah. There they built Salt Lake City, and erected a huge temple, which is said to seat more people than any other church in the world.

The Mormons felt the deepest veneration for their leader, Brigham Young, who died in 1877. Later, however, they gave up the polygamy he had preached, so that Utah could join our Union. They are very numerous, and have been so active and thrifty that their state, which was once a desert, is now very fertile. It is, besides, so attractive in scenery that many travelers visit it.

Many other changes had been taking place in our country. For instance, as people became rich, they grew more kind-hearted, and longed to help those who were poorer than they. Newspapers were now seen in nearly every home, and in reading of all the sad things which are always happening, the people who had the means sought to remedy them by building hospitals and asylums for orphans, for the deaf and dumb, for the blind, the idiotic, and the insane. There, many of these unfortunates were taught by clever means, so that they, too, could become good and useful citizens, of whom our country could be justly proud. Other well-meaning people visited the prisons, and when they saw how cruelly the criminals were treated, they talked and worked until new and better laws were made, and until prisoners were kept in clean and healthful places. Little by little, too, classes and shops were started in the prisons, so the people could learn better ways. The fact that they knew a trade well helped many prisoners to find work when their term of imprisonment was ended, and many of them have greatly repented of their past, and by hard and honest work have since won the respect of all who know them.