Joseph Smith’s Presidential Platform

So, I came across an interview of Richard Bushman at the Pew Research Forum, about both early and modern Mormon politics. I’ve also been reading a book called The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power by D Michael Quinn on the early leadership of the church. I want to combine the 2 sources, and talk about Joseph Smith’s presidential plans of 1844. First, let me quote Bushman.

“Smith was forced into politics by the abuse that the Mormons received. As soon as they were driven out of their first city site in Independence, Mo., he turned to the government for redress. He never obtained it. No level of government, from local justices of the peace to governors to the president of the United States – to whom he constantly appealed – ever came to the defense of the Saints. But Joseph Smith became a great devotee of constitutional rights because they seemed like his only hope. He said some very extravagant things about the Constitution being God-given because of those rights and became quite conversant in constitutional matters. He even visited the president of the United States, Martin Van Buren, in the White House in 1839.

Gradually, then, Joseph Smith backed into American politics. In the fall of 1843, as the 1844 campaign began to take shape, the authorities of the church wrote to all of the known political candidates asking them about their views of the Mormons, and none returned a satisfactory answer from the Mormon point of view. The Mormons wanted a pledge that these candidates would protect them if they were attacked again, and they couldn’t get it.

Joseph Smith was nominated as a protest candidate in February of 1844. Like other protest candidates, he began to warm to his work and got quite excited about it. He may have dreamed for a moment that through some strange concatenation of events, he would get elected. Every candidate has to dream such things.

His involvement in politics was manifested in a political platform of which he was very proud. He would bring it out whenever he had visitors and read from it. It is an interesting document because it represents a man whose world had been his own people, whose own project had been to create a kingdom of God, and who now had to turn his mind to politics.”

I want to address some really interesting parts of Joseph Smith’s platform that I found really interesting. Regarding slavery, Joseph Smith came up with a solution that would have avoided the Civil War. He advocated low taxes (just like conservatives do today.) I found most of his points very appealing.

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