Book cover of Joseph Smith for President: The Prophet, the Assassins, and the Fight for American Religious Freedom by Spencer McBrideby Spencer W. McBride

By the election year of 1844, Joseph Smith, the controversial founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, had amassed a national following of some 25,000 believers. Nearly half of them lived in the city of Nauvoo, Illinois, where Smith was not only their religious leader but also the mayor and the commander-in-chief of a militia of some 2,500 men. In less than twenty years, Smith had helped transform the American religious landscape and grown his own political power substantially. Yet the standing of the Mormon people in American society remained unstable. Unable to garner federal protection, and having failed to win the support of former president Martin Van Buren or any of the other candidates in the race, Smith decided to take matters into his own hands, launching his own bid for the presidency. While many scoffed at the notion that Smith could come anywhere close to the White House, others regarded his runand his religionas a threat to the stability of the young nation. Hounded by mobs throughout the campaign, Smith was ultimately killed by one – the first presidential candidate to be assassinated.

Interview with the Author

Podcast art for Conversations at the Washington LibraryConversations at the Washington Library 
206. Promoting Joseph Smith for President with Dr. Spencer W. McBride
7/22/21         45 min

Podcast Art for the New Book NetworkNew Books Network 
Spencer W. McBride, “Joseph Smith for President: The Prophet, the Assassins, and the Fight for American Religious Freedom” (Oxford UP, 2021)
7/1/21         52 min

Podcast art for The Age of JacksonThe Age of Jackson Podcast 
133. Joseph Smith for President in the Election of 1844 with Spencer W. McBride
5/28/21          62 min

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