Select Statutes and Other Documents: Illustrative of the History of the United States, 1861-1898

By William MacDonald | Go to book overview

No. 106. Anti-Polygamy Act
March 22, 1882

IN his annual message of December 6, 1881, President Arthur called attention to the spread of Mormonism in the Territories, and repeated the recommendations of previous messages for more stringent legislation. A bill "in reference to bigamy, and for other purposes," was introduced in the Senate, December 12, 1881, by Edmunds of Vermont, and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary. January 24 the committee reported the bill with numerous amendments. The bill passed the Senate February 16 and the House March 13, the vote in the House being 199 to 42, 51 not voting.

REFERENCES. -- Text in U.S. Statutes at Large, XXII, 30-32. For the proceedings see the House and Senate Journals, 47th Cong., 1st Sess., and the Cong. Record. On the constitutional bearings of the act see Murphy v. Ramsey, 114U.S. Reports, 15; Cannon v. United States, 116ibid., 55; Davis v. Beason, 133ibid., 333.

An act to amend section fifty-three hundred and fifty-two of the Revised Statutes of the United States, in reference to bigamy, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted . . ., That section fifty-three hundred and fiftytwo of the Revised Statutes of the United States1 be, and the same is hereby, amended so as to read as follows, namely:

"Every person who has a husband or wife living who, in a Territory or other place over which the United States have exclusive jurisdiction, hereafter marries another, whether married or single, and any man who hereafter simultaneously, or on the same day, marries more than one woman, in a Territory or other place over which the United States have exclusive jurisdiction, is guilty of polygamy, and shall be punished by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars and by imprisonment for a term of not more than five years; but this section shall not extend to any person by reason of any former marriage whose husband or wife by such marriage shall have been absent for five successive years, and is not known to such person to be living, and is believed by such person to be dead, nor to any person by reason of any former marriage which shall have been dissolved by a valid decree of a

____________________
1
Section 1 of the act of July 1, 1862 [No. 21, ante].

-319-

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