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On Joseph Smith and his failed presidential campaign in 1844...



Item # 684973

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June 22, 1844

NILES' NATIONAL REGISTER, Baltimore, June 22, 1844 

* Mormons leader Joseph Smith
* Election campaign for president
* 1st presidential candidate to be killed


It is not known by many today that Joseph Smith, leader of the Latter-Day Saints, ran for president of the United States in 1844.
After several years of harassment and persecution in Missouri and Illinois, Smith wrote to five men expected to be candidates for the presidency, asking each what he would do to protect the citizenship rights of the Latter-Day Saints if elected. Three of the men responded but none promised to help the Saints. As a result, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles nominated Joseph Smith to be a candidate.
Some thought that the campaign was not a serious attempt to elect Joseph Smith, but rather an undertaking designed to raise public awareness of the plight of the Latter-Day Saints amid rising persecution in a country that boasted about its exceptional level of freedom.
The front page has an article which begins: "The Political Campaign is now fairly opened From every section of the Union we receive accounts of the busy bustle of partizans..." with more.
Further on is: "...True, there is one of the candidates for the presidency that can hardly be said to be 'fairly in the field'. The Nauvoo general in chief, Joe Smith, we observe by the last papers, after showing some disposition to fight, ultimately gave in, and is now in the custody of the U.S. marshal for that district."
On June 10 Smith & others destroyed the presses of the 'Nauvoo Expositor' newspaper, critical of the Mormons. Smith was involved and he submitted to arrest on June 24 so we are unsure of the implication that he in the custody of the U.S. marshals.
Smith would be assassinated in jail on June 27.
It is quite rare to find any period newspapers reports of Joseph Smith running for the presidency but here is one, and on the front page.
Sixteen pages, 8 1/2 by 11 3/4 inches, various damp staining but causing no loss of readability, otherwise good condition.

Item from Catalog 342 (released for May, 2024)

Category: Pre-Civil War