Ethnic cleansing in America

Essay by sgtcross74College, UndergraduateA+, May 2004

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Ethnic cleansing, this term conjures up images of Serbians ousting the Albanians in Kosovo, or even Serbian and Muslim conflicts in Bosnia, but do we think of ethnic cleansing as something that has happened within the United States? Well, there was a period in our nation's history where one state decided to act against the constitution and any moral beliefs that this nation was founded on. This state was Missouri, and the governor of this state was Governor Lilburn W. Boggs. The period in history which I refer is the fall of 1838. In 1838 Governor Boggs signed an order of extermination that brought about the ethnic cleansing of Mormons from the state of Missouri.

Leading up to this ethnic cleansing in Missouri were several events that caused the official order of extermination from the Governor. "In July of 1831, a group of about 60 Mormons settled in Independence, Jackson County, Missouri. Joseph Smith, the Mormon prophet, instructed members of the nascent church to begin gathering there. Two years after the first saints arrived in Missouri, there were nearly 1200 Mormons in Jackson County (The total population of the County was about 5,000)" (Cann 1). During the winter of 1833-34, the inhabitants of Independence found fault with the Mormon's beliefs and their new prophet. So they began to drive the saints from Independence to Clay County, immediately north of Jackson County. This however did not solve the conflict. Mob violence against the Mormons began almost as soon as they arrived and continued to get worse. "However, the size of the group of saints continued to grow. All this while, more and more Mormons came from Ohio to Missouri, and converts continued to filter in from all over the country" (Cann 1).

The answer to this situation seemed to...