Polygamy makes for fascinating social history and for best-selling potboilers as well. This study by Sarah Barringer Gordon, who teaches both law and history at the University of Pennsylvania, is the first attempt to write a full-length legal history of “the Principle.” It turns out that even in this dry-as-dust genre, polygamy fuels a very dynamic story indeed, one that reveals the rich malleability of the Constitution, the endless resourcefulness of determined guardians of public morality, and the resilience of a peculiar people committed to the practice of plural marriage.

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Copyright © 2002, Brigham Young University Press. This article first appeared in BYU Studies 41:3 (2002). 81-4.

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