tutor2u | The Mormon Migration 1846-47

Study Notes

The Mormon Migration 1846-47

Level:
GCSE
Board:
Edexcel

Last updated 24 Oct 2017

The Mormons were a religious group who practised a type of Christianity. However, they were targeted by other Christians who disagreed with Mormon practices such as polygamy. In June 1845 the leader of the Mormons, Joseph Smith, was murdered. Brigham Young became the new leader of the Mormons. Due to the hostility shown towards the Mormons, he decided they needed to move somewhere safer.

The Mormons were a religious group who practised a type of Christianity. However, they were targeted by other Christians who disagreed with Mormon practices such as polygamy. In June 1845 the leader of the Mormons, Joseph Smith, was murdered. Brigham Young became the new leader of the Mormons. Due to the hostility shown towards the Mormons, he decided they needed to move somewhere safer.

 

Young decided to migrate to the Great Salt Lake, just south of the Oregon Trail. He believed the Mormons would be safe here as it was isolated and technically part of Mexico, not the United States.

 

The Mormon migration is significant as Young successfully migrated thousands of Mormons to the Great Salt Lake, even though they travelled off the Oregon Trail. It is useful to compare this migration to that of the Donner Party in order to understand what made a successful migration.

 

The Mormon Migration succeeded because:

 

  • Young carefully planned the logistics, ensuring there was enough supplies to last the journey
  • Young consulted with trail guides to find the quickest and safest routes
  • He sent a ‘Pioneer Band’ of 150 men and 70 wagons to be the first to travel to the Great Salt Lake. Their task was to find the best trail, and clear it for use. They also constructed crossings over rivers and planted crops. This meant later groups of Mormons could travel safely.
  • Young insisted on strict discipline. This meant there were no splits like there were in the Donner Party.
  • Young planned for regular rests to ensure travellers and cattle did not become exhausted. One of the Donner Party’s major problems was that their oxen became too exhausted to continue the journey. 

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