President Millard Fillmore Creates Utah Territory Hot

President Millard Fillmore Creates Utah Territory

President Millard Fillmore

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When the President Millard Fillmore signs the "Great Compromise" into law, he creates the Utah Territory (rejecting the name Deseret, which was preferred by the Mormons). It will exist until January 4, 1896, when what's left of the original territory is admitted to the Union as the State of Utah.

Mormon settlers under the leadership of Brigham Young had not only wanted to become a state immediately, they wanted it to encompass a massive amount of territory: all of modern Utah and Nevada, large portions of California and Arizona, and parts of Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, Oregon, and Wyoming. This is most of the territory recently acquired from Mexico.

Dreams of a Mormon state do not yet die, though. For almost a decade, Brigham Young and other Mormon church leaders will meet secretly after every territorial legislative session and vote for laws for the "State of Deseret."

It's not until the coming of the transcontinental railroad and large numbers of non-Mormon settlers that attempts to create a theocratic state in the desert begin to seriously fade. Mormon leaders anticipate the problems that non-Mormons will bring, which is why the famous driving of the golden spike at Promontory Summit, a ceremony to mark the completion of the transcontinental railroad, will be boycotted by Utah territory officials.


Presidential Minute With Millard Fillmore

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