Sourced based essay on the Mormons

1. From the information on source A, you can see that settlement is in a gridiron pattern which shows the town is well organised. We can learn that the Mormon settlement is quiet and tranquil, this is because there are not many people or wagons around and the place were the settlement is based.

From the source it is clear that the town is based around religion, as there is a big church on the left-hand side of the source. Because there is only one religion in Salt Lake City it shows a high community spirit, this is backed up by the peacefulness of the settlement.

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2. Within Source B you can read some of the difficulties faced by early mining towns. The town of Bannok is a good example of the difficulties faced by the mining towns. Bannok was set up in Montana for the gold rush if 1862, as many minors came, many villains arrived as well, this proved a great difficulties because not many people in Bannok knew “each other and who to trust”. Because of this the “roughs” took advantage and become “organised and under the leadership of able villain, Henry Plummber”. As the “roughs” were so organised compared to “the respectable citizens” it would some times seem that they were able to “run things to suit themselves.

This point was further shown by business all over the “American West”, Reward Posters were put up for the capture of Criminals. One poster shows a $15,000 reward for Frank James, Dead or Alive and the same poster shows $25,000 for Jesse James, but the rewards were not from the authorities; they were from the St. Louis Midland Railroad.

This shows the lack of a proper police force and show how the early mining towns grew faster in population compared to the authorities.

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3. Within source C it clearly describes some problems faced by the early mining towns, but not to do with law and order.

The source tells us about Virginia City in Montana in 1864, it explains about the outbreak of typhoid. “There was an epidemic of typhoid” and “some people were very ill”. Typhoid is a disease, which is spread through the water system through people excreting in the water.

Another mining town called “Helens” was just as bad, in 1867; three years after the problems in Virginia City in Montana, there were still problems. The roads in “Helens” were “like a river and people “commenced sinking” on the main streets. This shows how the problems took a long time to be improved in the towns.

In Virginia City, Nevada we have more proof that the mining towns had problems, this times as late as 1875.

There had been no rain for 6 months when the fire broke out, the town had put furniture out on the “sidewalk” and that was on fire. There was no fire service so the fire could burn freely. This shows that the mining towns weren’t organised, were growing faster in population then the authorities could handle, which meant that simple problems like fire control, were not solved quickly, let alone the more complex problem of law and order.

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4. Source D, E and F are useful in finding out about problems of law and order in early western towns, but do have their problems; source D is an artist’s impression of a bank raid. Source E is a notice left by the vigilantes use a lynch death and source F is a description of Virginia City by ‘journalist’, Mark Twain.

Source D is an artist impression of a bank raid in Northfield, Minnesota in 1876. It is useful as far as it is a picture of the incident but as it is andartists impression’ you don’t know if he is an eyewitness or you don’t know where he got his evidence. He may have been told to draw the incident in a certain way to create a certain image. The artist may have drawn in more gunfights to give an impression and fulfil the expectations of the Wild West.

Source E is a notice by the committee of vigilance found on the body of a man hung for murder, which is a piece of primary evidence. The evidence is primary because it dates from this period but is sketchy in some places. There is no date or place of where the incident happened which would normally make me question the evidence. This source is useful because it shows the problem that faced law and order, the vigilantes, isn’t reliable because has no place or date.

Source F is a piece of writing by author and Journalist Mark Twain describing Virginia City. The description writes about the good things of Virginia City, “fire companies, banks, a mayor” are some of the things but then comes to somewhat of an anti-climax with “…and some talk of building a church”. This comment is useful in saying about problems in the west, but not law and order.

Overall I think that a source D, E and F are good finding out about fundamental problems of law and order in the west but doesn’t always have the evidence to back it up. A source D talk of a bank raid with dates and the place but is an artist’s impression, creating an image of lawlessness. Source E is the primary evidence of the notice on the body of a dead man killed by the vigilantes, this is good because it’s a primary piece of evidence but has no date or place.

Source F is the journalist piece of writing about Virginia City; this has date and place where it’s written and is only his point of view so shouldn’t be taken seriously.

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5. The statement in source E is of a vigilante notice on a murdered body, who was killed for murder. This is an example of people taking the law into their own hands.

In source B it is said that in the gold rush of 1862 ‘roughs’ ran ‘things to suit themselves’. This is the sort of things that the vigilantes wish to stop, which explains the murders of the criminals. Source D is an artist’s impression of a bank raid in Northfield, Minnesota in 1876. This again is an example of violence and crime, which the vigilantes tried to stop by taking the law into their own hands. This helps to explain the ‘else ye murders’ quote because source D is showing violence and possible murder at the bank raid which can happen all of the time.

Another example of the statement in source E is in the ‘Johnson County War’ where two people, James Averell, a popular man and Ella Watson, a prostitute ware lynched and hung for no real crime. This explains the ‘lynch law’ part of source E and shows vigilantes taking control and bringing the law into their own hands.

A good example of statement E of people taking the law into their own hands was the minors court in Bannok, were they elected a judge, Henry Crawford who was sheriff at the time. The minor’s courts dealt with anything to do with Minors such as land claims. There was no appeal and the judge’s decision was final. This shows both organisation and community spirit, which is another way of looking after each other apart from murder.

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6. Source G blames the early settlers for problems of lawlessness in early western towns. This statement has evidence to back it up with a similar situation in source B, the ‘Dark days of Bannok’. Here is one piece of evidence to suggest the statement is right but, there is the organised salt lake city in source A which would suggest that the statement was flawed, although salt lake city wasn’t a mining town, it was a community for settlement and religion.

Source G says that ‘if the first settlers of Idaho… had directed their energies not only to making money but also to public affairs, … life and property might have been safe.’ This shows that the people of Idaho weren’t organised and this is much the same in Bannok, in Montana, where ‘there was no safety for life and property’. This show the towns grew to fast for the government to handle and shows source G was right.

The miner’s courts were a good example of organisation. In the absence of a federal government the minors of California developed their ‘own common law codes’ for dealing with disputes over ‘land claims’.

Many minors’ courts also dealt with crime, criminals and debts and in some cases they even elected a judge and jury. This is a sign of the battle against lawlessness so source G is not fair comment in this case.

Source E is an example of a notice hung around the neck of a murdered man who was killed by the vigilantes; the notice states that other murders should ‘take warning’ or ‘the fate that this brute has met awaits you’. Although the vigilantes killed people they were only trying to enforce the law, which is a sign of them wanting organisation but they didn’t know the right way to achieve this.

Another disadvantage to the Idaho Settlers was that Idaho never became a state until 1890 even though the state of Idaho had 2 big mining spots in Silver City, which was first mined in 1862 and Elk City, which was first mined in 1861. This was also strange as other mining places of the west such as Oregon and California became states quickly at 1859 and 1850 respectively.

Although other stats did Idaho never got the backing of the government so never had the organisation to set up a community in quick time.

Because of this evidence it is fair to say that the early settlers of the west were to blame partly for the lawlessness in the west but the government were to blame in some part as well

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