4-part series on the ‘sausage making’ of Utah statehood

Dr. Leo Lyman has spent almost half a century diving deep into the “sausage making” of Utah becoming a state. He is a professor emeritus of history, the author of eight books and multiple peer-reviewed articles and a fellow of the Utah State Historical Society.

His book Statehood Finally! explores the behind-the-scenes political wrangling and compromise and what’s a good sausage-making without intrigue and betrayal?

Writing about the book, Kurt Bench said: “Utah’s quest for statehood lasted longer, involved more political intrigue, and garnered more national attention than any other US territory. While Utahns—especially the Mormon population—hoped statehood would grant them increased political autonomy, the several decades of refusal by church leadership to denounce polygamy stalled even the most carefully executed political schemes. Even without the albatross of polygamy, the territory presented a unique set of challenges. Lingering distrust toward the federal government blurred the lines separating church and state. LDS leaders considered themselves anointed by God to lead the government. Officials sent from Washington to dilute Mormon control found themselves in hostile, dangerous terrain.”

Dr. Lyman recently recorded a four-part podcast series on the journey to statehood.

Part One covers the first failed attempt at statehood (there were seven altogether!), what the birth of the Republican party meant to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and wrangling over polygamy. You can listen here.

Part Two covers the First Presidency’s support for a “Committee for Statehood,” the railroad, mining and industrial leaders who want Utah to become a state and Utah’s political landscape is dominated by the People’s Party and the Liberal Party. Listen to that episode here

Part Three discusses the erosion of public support for polygamy, and the disenfranchisement of LDS members, whether they practicred polygamy or not. Listen to episode three here.

Part Four includes the story of the Utah Constitutional Convention, statehood is finally granted, and the first Utah Senators. Hear that episode here