Conflicting Loyalties: Mormon Americanization, Sectarianism, and Gender Ideology in Utah’s Spanish- and Philippine-American Wars Experience
DeLoach, CarrieAnne Simonini
Doctor of Philosophy
This case study incorporates gender, class, demographic, and cultural analysis to examine a religious minority's plea for the recognition of its Americanness at a critical moment of imperial expansion. The Spanish-American War offered Latter-day Saints an opportunity to prove their loyalty to the United States because it occurred two years after Utah received statehood and re-enfranchised its female citizens and eight years after the Manifesto ending plural marriage. Following decades of federal persecution and public ridicule, some Mormon men found redemption through combat. Two, Don Musser and Isaac Russell utilized their soldier-newspapers as vehicles for communicating Utah and, therefore, Mormon masculinity as ideally martial as evidenced by a Western frontier ethos rife with references to the strenuous life and violent settler-colonialism. Their publications also crafted dichotomous narratives about homefront females as disloyal "New Women" or delicate grief-immobilized wives and mothers that bore little resemblance with reality. In a war plagued by systematic government ineptness, the health and success of Utah's volunteer troops were often dependent upon the combat service support efforts of clubwomen, Red Cross workers, and socialites. Utah women, without remuneration, coordinated extensive and extended efforts to supply the kit and medical supplies needed by their 'boys.' Additionally, as members of a national women's movement, they fed thousands of troops passing through Salt Lake City. Expressions of loyalty came in many forms, and elite socialites utilized a "patriotic aesthetic," unprecedented in scale and detail when compared nationwide, at entertainments and life cycle events that militarized home décor and transported imperial violence into the sanctity of the domestic space. The war-supporting efforts of these women did not go unchallenged. Decades-old sectarian conflict plagued their efforts and tepid public support, most notably present in low Mormon enlistment rates, hindered success. Some of the church's auxiliary leaders refused to or only reluctantly embraced their nation's march toward conflict as they championed arbitration rooted in feminist pacifism. Poor rural women severely impacted by the lingering effects of the 1893 Depression also tempered nationalist fervor with requests for the discharges of their male relatives to alleviate enlistment-exacerbated penury and reestablish pre-war gender hierarchies.
Spanish-American War; Philippine-American War; Mormon; Mormon women; The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; More... Utah; Americanization; sectarianism; gender; gender history; demographic analysis; cultural history; military history; polygamy; gender studies; masculinity studies; soldier newspapers; settler colonialism; homefront; new women; Red Cross; clubwomen; war work; combat service support; women's movement; civic identity; patriotism; imperialism; entertaining; pacifism; suffrage; anti-polygamy movement; nationalism Less...