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“Quell the Raging Ocean’s Wave”: Thomas L. Kane and the Utah War

Thomas L. Kane
In the Spring 2014 semester, one of my classes was a Utah history course. As with essentially any upper-division history course, I had to write a term paper. I chose to write mine on Thomas L. Kane’s involvement in preventing the Utah War. Kane is arguably the most important and influential non-Mormon in Mormon history. As such, I figured it might be worth re-posting the paper here for public consumption (I have reformatted it so it looks fairly professional).



Unlike most of the historical topics taken up here on my little web space, this is not especially controversial or faith shaking; I’ve made no extended (and boring) argument and analysis of evidence. This is just some good, ole’-fashioned narrative history, folks. I’ve not really added anything substantive to our body of knowledge on Kane and the Utah War (it is just an undergrad term paper, after all). This paper won’t place me in the ranks of the great Kane scholars, or Utah War historians or anything of the sort. But I tell a little piece of what is, I think, a rather interesting story. I opted to leave the works cited pages attached so as to make a convenient list of additional sources one can pursue to get the rest of the story on either Kane or the Utah War. And (I think) it’s an easy read. So if you are even slightly into history, and specifically Mormon/Utah history, then this little piece might interest you.

On a personal note, I would like to formally dedicate the paper to Roger C. Blomquist, who was my teacher for the course, but was let go at the end of the semester. He was a phenomenal teacher who showed great passion for the subject matter, and gladly presented it on a level that the lowly masses could understand, rather than just address academics in increasingly irrelevant “in-house” conversation. We need more professors like him, not less. 

Comments

  1. "Kane is arguably the most important and influential non-Mormon in Mormon history."

    I may be biased since my work with the Joseph Smith Papers was on the Missouri War, but if you ask me Alexander Doniphan was more influential than Kane.

    He just, like, you know, stopped Joseph Smith from being illegally executed in 1838. ;-)

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    Replies
    1. Well, I did say "arguably." There are certainly a number of other candidates. But while Doniphan stopped the execution of Joseph Smith and a handful leaders, Kane stopped what potentially would have turned into the slaughter of many, many Saints, with the leaders like Brigham Young being prime targets. Seriously, without Kane's intervention, I don't know that the Church survives.

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