United States

mormon, rigdon, trouble, smith, south, illinois, alton, carolina and union

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Nat Turner's Rebellion.—Among the blacks in Virginia there was one who exerted a great influence over the slaves. His name was Nat Turner, and he firmly believed that he had been called of God to lead his people to free dom. He had heard voices calling to him from the air; he had seen strange signs in the sky and all the portents which he could interpret gave additional proof of his divine commission. Forming an alliance with three other blacks and three ignorant white men, he began his crusade by killing several families. Wherever he went there was bloodshed, while everywhere he pressed the slaves into his service until he was accompanied by a force of more than 200 persons. Unable to suppress the insurrection, an appeal to the government was made and both Virginia and North Carolina sent troops to the scene of the outrages. As the result, all the insurgents were either killed or captured; Turner and 16 of the leading spirits were hanged and scores were punished, some most inhumanely and without trial, their bodies being decapitated and their heads impaled along the highways as a warning.

Troubles Under Jackson's Administra tion.— The political contest which shook the Union to its very centre in 1832, culminated, in all its violence, in the South Carolina doctrine of State Rights and Nullification. The origin of the trouble was the tariff : first, the tariff passed during the Adams administration, which was extremely distasteful to the South, and, second, the tariff of 1832, which was even more so, and as, at this time, there was a powerful party in South Carolina which contended that Congress had no power to impose taxes for the protection of home industries or manufactures, and who held that each State had the right to judge if Congress had exceeded its powers, and, if so, to disobey it, it was not long before the new act was declared unconstitutional. It was resolved, therefore, to prevent its enforce ment in the port of Charleston, even by armed resistance, or by withdrawal from the Union. In fact, so strong was the feeling upon this sub ject that the nation was threatened with dis solution. President Jackson, however, refused to listen to the arguments of the nullifiers, the leaders among whom were Hayne and Calhoun, the latter having resigned the Vice-Presidene" to accept a scat in the Senate in order that he might speak upon this question, and he at once ordered troops to Charleston. The presence of the soldiers had a quieting effect upon the bel ligerents, who postponed their threatened action, and the difficulty was finally settled by the Clay compromise bill. More trouble with the In dians and the °Toledo War," a dispute over the southern boundary between Ohio and Michigan, which followed the admission of the latter State to the Union, were among the factors that dis turbed the Jackson administration, but none of these events were as important as the Mormon disturbances and the "Patriot War," which oc curred soon after Van Buren's succession to the Presidency.

Mormon Disturbances.— During the pere grinations of the Mormons, prior to their ulu mate settlement in Utah, they attempted to lo cate in several places, but as their presence was not relished by other citizens, who charged them with such crimes as robbery, arson and secret assassinations, they had frequent conflicts with mobs and were driven from spot to spot until they made their final stand in Missouri, at the town of Far West, in Caldwell County. Here they were joined in 1838 by Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon, who, after the failure of the Mormon Bank at Kirkland, Ohio, had fled from that State to avoid arrest for fraud. To the ticubles arising from the hatred and distrust of the people of Missouri there were soon added those of internal dissensions. On 24 Oct. 1838 Thomas B. March, president of the 12 apostles, and Orson Hyde, one of the apostles, made af fidavit that Smith and Rigdon placed the teach ings of the Book of Mormon and the regulations of the Church above the laws of the land and that there also existed among the Mormons a band known as the organized to execute the will of the head of the Church, whether it were legally right or wrong. Under such conditions the feeling against the Mor mons grew so strong that it was determined to drive them from the State. Smith and Rigdon had already been arrested on charges of treason, murder and forgery, but their adherents forti fied their settlement and resisted both the popu lar will and the law so strenuously that it be came necessary to call out the militia to expel them. They at once turned their steps toward Illinois, where they founded the city of Nauvoo, hut the authorities were to have still more trouble with them, the most serious disturb ances being those of 1844, when they were driven out of Illinois, and those which fol lowed the Mountain Meadow Massacre, in 1857, when an army of 2,500 men, under Col. Albert Sidney Johnston, was sent to Utah to put down Mormon resistance to United States' authority.

Alton Riots, Illinois.— The Alton, Ill., riots resulted from a popular uprising against the Saint Louis Observer and its owner, Rev. Elijah P. Lovejoy. Compelled to leave Saint Louis by reason of his anti-slavery proclivities, Mr. Love joy took his paper to Alton, Ill. There, too, he provoked enmity, however, and several riots occurred, his newspaper plant being destroyed no less than three times. On the occasion of the last riot, 7 Nov. 1837, Mr. Lovejoy was killed.

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