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Campaign Posters

Have you ever seen Walt Disney’s, “The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band” (1968)? It’s about a musical family with strong Democrat ties who moves out west to the Dakota Territory, and finds themselves in conflict with the predominant Republican community. Seems like a tough life for minorities… Or would it have been tougher for the community to have these Democrats “threaten” their political system, speaking out against everything they stood for? Hmmm…

Believe it or not, a very similar thing happened in Utah Territory. Because of their common religion and way of life, Mormons didn’t really have a need for a political party because there was hardly anyone around who thought differently. And since the Mormons were the first white, permanent settlers in Utah, they became very accustomed to this way of life. That is, until non-Mormons, or “Gentiles” as the Mormons called them, started trickling in and making their political views known through their Liberal Party.

Like in the movie, the Mormons felt annoyed and almost threatened as the Liberal Party grew in numbers as more Gentiles moved to Utah. They felt they needed to join together in a political party to off-set these Liberals. Thus emerged the People’s Party. As the non-Mormon population grew, candidates from the People’s Party started loosing to those of the Liberal Party in local elections, such as in Salt Lake and Ogden. As these new political leaders took office, many Mormons feared what kind of changes that would bring to Utah, and if it would have an affect on the Mormon culture.

Pretend there was an election coming up between candidates between the People’s Party and Liberal Party. You can use two real or fictitious names, or perhaps two different students in your class. Who would your students vote for? What might have been some of the issues of debate between these parties? After discussing this, have your students design and create a campaign poster for the candidate of their choice. What kind of things would you put on your poster to convince people to vote for your party’s candidate?

For more information about this video click here.

For purchase information, click The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band

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