We are pleased to announce that Brent M. Rogers, author of Unpopular Sovereignty: Mormons and the Federal Management of Early Utah Territory (published by the University of Nebraska Press)—will be here for a lunchtime signing on Friday, Mar. 31. He will be here from 12 PM to 1 PM to sign copies of his book and chat. We hope you will be able to make it but, if not, we can mail a signed copy to you or hold it for pick-up here at the store. To RSVP on Facebook, click here.
Newly created territories in antebellum America were designed to be extensions of national sovereignty and jurisdiction. Utah Territory, however, was a deeply contested space in which a cohesive settler group—the Mormons—sought to establish their own “popular sovereignty,” raising the question of who possessed and could exercise governing, legal, social, and even cultural power in a newly acquired territory.
In Unpopular Sovereignty, Brent M. Rogers invokes the case of popular sovereignty in Utah as an important contrast to the better-known slavery question in Kansas. Rogers examines the complex relationship between sovereignty and territory along three main lines of inquiry: the implementation of a republican form of government, the administration of Indian policy and Native American affairs, and gender and familial relations—all of which played an important role in the national perception of the Mormons’ ability to self-govern. Utah’s status as a federal territory drew it into larger conversations about popular sovereignty and the expansion of federal power in the West. Ultimately, Rogers argues, managing sovereignty in Utah proved to have explosive and far-reaching consequences for the nation as a whole as it teetered on the brink of disunion and civil war.
“Brent Rogers skillfully places the Utah experience at the fulcrum of America’s growing sectional divide in the 1850s and offers important new insights into the deterioration of the Union. This book will force historians of the West to consider Utah Territory alongside Kansas Territory as a hotbed of national debate over popular sovereignty. Beyond that, it should prompt a recalibration of the national narrative to reflect the ways in which religion helped to define what it meant to be an American in the decade leading into the Civil War, sometimes just as much as race.”
—W. Paul Reeve, author of Religion of a Different Color: Race and the Mormon Struggle for Whiteness
Other titles by Brent Rogers
The Joseph Smith Papers, Documents Vol. 3: February 1833-March 1834. The Church Historian’s Press, 2014. Hardback. $54.95
The Joseph Smith Papers, Journals, Vol. 3: May 1843-June 1844. The Church Historian’s Press, 2015. Hardback. $57.95
Shipping: $4.50 for the first book, $1 for each additional. Priority/FedEx/UPS options available—inquire for details
Utah residents—add 7.05% sales tax