- Edmunds Act
The Edmunds Act, is United States federal legislation, signed into law on March 23, 1882, declaring
polygamya felony. The act not only reinforced the 1862 Morrill Anti-Bigamy Actbut also revoked the polygamists right to vote, made them ineligible for juryservice, and prohibited them from holding political office.
The law was applied in an apparently "
ex post facto" manner; that is, polygamists were charged for polygamist marriages solemnized before passage of the statute. A constitutional challenge to the statute was framed on these and other grounds. The Supreme Court ruled in " Murphy v. Ramsey", ussc|114|15| 1885, that the statute was not "ex post facto" because convicts were charged for their continued cohabitation, not for the prior illegal marriage . Modern scholarship suggests the law may be unconstitutional for being in violation of the Free Exercise Clause. [cite web| title =THE PRACTICE OF POLYGAMY: LEGITIMATE FREE EXERCISE OF RELIGION OR LEGITIMATE PUBLIC MENACE? REVISITING REYNOLDS IN LIGHT OF MODERN CONSTITUTIONAL JURISPRUDENCE| url =http://www.law.nyu.edu/journals/legislation/articles/vol5num1/vazquez.pdf| accessdate = 2008-02-04 ]
These restrictions were enforced regardless of whether an individual was actually practicing polygamy, or merely believed in the
Mormondoctrine of plural marriagewithout actually participating in it.
All elected offices in the
Utah Territorywere vacated, an election board was formed to issue certificates to those who both denied polygamy and did not practice it, and new elections were held territory-wide.
Rudger Clawson— August 1882 — a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles who was the first person convicted. He was pardoned by President Grover Clevelandmere months before his sentence was going to expire.
William J. Flake— 1883 — one of the founders of Snowflake, Arizona, who married his second wife in 1868. Was imprisoned in the Yuma Territorial Prisonin 1883. After his release, when asked which of his wives he was going to give up, he replied, "Neither. I married both in good faith and intended to support both of them." As he had already served his sentence, he could not be retried on the same charges.
Abraham H. Cannon— 1886 — a member of the First Council of the Seventyof the Church and son of Apostle George Q. Cannon. Cannon as convicted of unlawful cohabitation in 1886 and sentenced to six months' imprisonment, which he served in full. In 1889 he became an Apostle of the LDS church.
1838 Mormon War(1838 Missouri)
Extermination Order(1838 Missouri)
Illinois Mormon War(1844-1845)
Morrill Anti-Bigamy Act(1862)
Reynolds v. United States" (1879)
*"Mormon Church v. United States" (1890)
History of civil marriage in the U.S.
George F. Edmunds
ex post facto law
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