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Edmunds–Tucker Act

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Title: Edmunds–Tucker Act  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Mormonism and polygamy, Mormonism and women, 49th United States Congress, 1890 Manifesto, Latter Day Saint polygamy in the late-19th century
Collection: 1887 in Law, 1887 in Religion, 1887 in the United States, 19Th-Century Mormonism, 49Th United States Congress, Christianity and Law in the 19Th Century, Church and State Law in the United States, History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Law Related to Mormonism, Legal History of the United States, Marriage, Unions and Partnerships in the United States, Mormonism and Law, Mormonism and Polygamy, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the United States, United States Federal Territory and Statehood Legislation, United States Repealed Legislation, Utah Territory
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Edmunds–Tucker Act

The Edmunds–Tucker Act of 1887 was an John Randolph Tucker of Virginia.

The act was repealed in 1978.


  • History 1
  • See also 2
  • References 3
  • Further reading 4


The act disincorporated both the LDS Church and the Perpetual Emigration Fund on the grounds that they fostered polygamy. The act prohibited the practice of polygamy and punished it with a fine of from $500 to $800 and imprisonment of up to five years. It dissolved the corporation of the church and directed the confiscation by the federal government of all church properties valued over a limit of $50,000. The act was enforced by the U.S. Marshal and a host of deputies.

The act:

  • Disincorporated the LDS Church and the Perpetual Emigrating Fund Company, with assets to be used for public schools in the Territory.[1]
  • Required an anti-polygamy oath for prospective voters, jurors and public officials.
  • Annulled territorial laws allowing illegitimate children to inherit.
  • Required civil marriage licenses (to aid in the prosecution of polygamy).
  • Abrogated the common law spousal privilege for polygamists, thus requiring wives to testify against their husbands.[2]
  • Disenfranchised women (who had been enfranchised by the Territorial legislature in 1870).[3]
  • Replaced local judges (including the previously powerful Probate Court judges) with federally appointed judges.
  • Abolished the office of Territorial superintendent of district schools, granting the supreme court of the Territory of Utah the right to appoint a commissioner of schools. Also called for the prohibition of the use of sectarian books and for the collection of statistics of the number of so-called gentiles and Mormons attending and teaching in the schools.[4]

In 1890 the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the seizure of Church property under the Edmunds–Tucker Act in Late Corporation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints v. United States.

This act was repealed in 1978.[5][6]

See also


  1. ^ L. Rex Sears, "Punishing the Saints for Their "Peculiar Institution": Congress on the Constitutional Dilemmas," 2001 Utah L. Rev. 581
  2. ^ Embry, Jessie L. (1994), "Polygamy", in Powell, Allan Kent, Utah History Encyclopedia, Salt Lake City, Utah:  
  3. ^ Women's Suffrage in Utah Jean Bickmore White, Utah History Encyclopedia
  4. ^ Edmunds–Tucker Act: Section 25
  5. ^ The practice of polygamy: legitimate free exercise of religion or legitimate public menace? Revisiting Reynolds in light of modern constitutional jurisprudence Richard A. Vazquez, Journal of Legislation & Public Policy (New York University School of Law), Volume 5, Number 1, Fall 2001
  6. ^ Past and Present Proposed Amendments to the United States Constitution Regarding Marriage Edward Stein, Washington University Law Quarterly, Volume 82, Number 3, 2004

Further reading

  • "Gospel Topics: The Manifesto and the End of Plural Marriage", (LDS Church), retrieved 2014-10-22 
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