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26 Pages

The Discourse of Antipolygamy

After separating the women's antipolygamy movement from the anti-Mormon forces arrayed against Utah, critical questions arise. Was tbis women's crusade simply the expression of prurience andjor hysterical fear? How symbolic or how genuine was tbis fear? Was the women's crusade the result of adroit manipulation of tbis fear by the religious and economic enemies of the Mormons? Non-Mormon historian Robert J. Dwyer, one of the few who identified the existence of a women's antipolygamy movement, did not engage the questions raised here. l However, the scope of the women's movement, the variety and number of women's groups active over a continuing period of time, require an examination of its meaning.