Mormon History and Thomas Kane, Romantic Reformer

Paul Harvey

Over at Juvenile Instructor today is a nice list/compilation of recent and forthcoming works in Mormon history -- click here for it.

On the list there is a book that I hadn't thought of putting in this category, but certainly belongs: Matt Grow,
"Liberty to the Downtrodden": Thomas L. Kane, Romantic Reformer. Below is a description of this work from Yale University Press. Matt is in the current group of Young Scholars in American Religion, where he holds court with our blog contributor Everett Hamner and other rising stars in the field.

Thomas L. Kane (1822–1883), a crusader for antislavery, women’s rights, and the downtrodden, rose to prominence in his day as the most ardent and persuasive defender of Mormons’ religious liberty. Though not a Mormon, Kane sought to defend the much-reviled group from the “Holy War” waged against them by evangelical America. His courageous personal intervention averted a potentially catastrophic bloody conflict between federal troops and Mormon settlers in the now nearly forgotten Utah War of 1857–58.

Drawing on extensive, newly available archives, this book is the first to tell the full story of Kane’s extraordinary life. The book illuminates his powerful Philadelphia family, his personal life and eccentricities, his reform achievements, his place in Mormon history, and his career as a Civil War general. Further, the book revises previous understandings of nineteenth-century reform, showing how Kane and likeminded others fused Democratic Party ideology, anti-evangelicalism, and romanticism.


Christopher said…
I haven't had a chance to read Matt's book yet, but have heard him present on the subject and can attest to it being quite interesting subject matter. For those without time to read the entire biography, it might be worth checking out Matt's article in the latest issue of JER, "The Suffering Saints: Thomas L. Kane, Democratic Reform, and the Mormon Question in Antebellum America" (abstract available here).
Jared T. said…
Paul, thanks for posting this. I'm in Chris' same situation in that I've not read the book, but I've heard him lecture, and the material is fascinating.