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4/11/12

Joseph Smith's Run For President: On the Issues

In 1844, the founder of the LDS church Joseph Smith ran for President of the United States. His reason for running was that "no portion of the Government as yet has stepped forward for our relief" from anti-Mormon persecution, and that he only sought "protection of injured innocence." Smith was killed in a state-sponsored assassination six months later.

Like Romney, he ran as a centrist. "We have had democratic presidents, whig presidents, a pseudo democratic whig president; and now it is time to have a president of the United States." All parties spurred Smith, just as they today spur Romney.

Joseph Smith's platform had broad appeal:

  • Abolish slavery by buying all slaves from owners
  • Drastically cut prison sentences, jail only for murder
  • Slash Congressional pay to 25% of what it is
  • Receive Indians' consent before spreading America's borders
  • Establish a national bank
  • Provide relief for poor manufacturing jobs
  • Pay up the national debt
  • Neutrality toward belligerent nations
  • Reduce the number of Representatives from states
  • Suppress mobs with the army
Joseph Smith wrote a pamphlet:

"Born in a land of liberty, and breathing an air uncorrupted with the sirocco of barbarous climes, I ever feel a double anxiety for the happiness of all men, both in time and in eternity. My cogitations, like Daniel’s, have for a long time troubled me, when I viewed the condition of men throughout the world, and more especially in this boasted realm, where the Declaration of Independence “holds these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness,” but at the same time some two or three millions of people are held as slaves for life, because the spirit in them is covered with a darker skin than ours; and hundreds of our kindred for an infraction, or supposed infraction, of some over wise statute, have to be incarcerated in dungeon glooms, or suffer the more moral penitentiary gravitation of mercy in a nut-shell, while the duelist, the debauchee, and the defaulter for millions, and other criminals, take the upper-most rooms at feasts, or, like the bird of passage find a more congenial clime by flight."

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