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Joseph Smith in politics subject of Lee Library lecture March 8

As part of the Joseph Smith Exhibit Lecture Series, Brigham Young University history professor emeritus James B. Allen will discuss Joseph Smith in politics Wednesday, March 8, at 3 p.m. in the Harold B. Lee Library auditorium.

Corresponding with the semester’s exhibition, “Remembering Joseph Smith, Jr. 1805-2005,” Allen will address the topic “Joseph Smith vs. John C. Calhoun: Presidential Politics and the States’ Rights Controversy.”

Admission is free and the public is welcome. A question-and-answer session as well as a reception will follow the lecture in Special Collections’ DeLamar Jensen Classroom located near the auditorium.

Smith met South Carolina Sen. Calhoun during his 1840 visit to Washington, D.C. After explaining the plight of the Mormons who had lost so many rights and possessions in Missouri, Calhoun and others told Smith the federal government could not intervene in an issue involving states’ rights, and thus would not help the Saints.

Allen will specifically discuss Smith’s political views as well as his decision to run for rresident of the United States in 1844. He will also focus on the Constitutional issue of states’ rights.

Allen served as chair of the History Department at BYU, as well as the Lemuel Hardison Redd, Jr. Professor of Western American History, the president of the Mormon History Association and assistant Church historian for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

He was awarded the Distinguished Faculty Lecturer at BYU in 1984 and was named a fellow of the Utah State Historical Society in 1988.

He has also authored or co-authored 16 books and monographs and about 90 articles, most of which relate to Mormon and Western American history.

For more information, contact David Whittaker at (801) 422-7774 or

Writer: Brian Rust

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