A Wall to Defend Zion: The Nauvoo Charter

A Wall to Defend Zion: The Nauvoo Charter
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A Wall to Defend Zion: The Nauvoo Charter

Author James L. Kimball Jr.

The Nauvoo Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized in October 1839. For a time, the Saints treated the stake officers as the city government. Since the Church was instructed to function within the existing government, a committee was appointed to draft a bill for the incorporation of the City of Nauvoo which was sent to the Illinois State Legislature in October 1840. By 1841 the charter was effective. While the Mormons of Nauvoo relied on their Charter to defend the rights of Zion, many of their non-Mormon neighbors came to view it as an offensive barrier. The Nauvoo Charter demonstrates a meeting of the American notions of political and social experimentation and belief in the perfectibility of man with the equally American quality of eager opportunism and clannishness.