Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



In the landmark case of Reynolds v. United States, the United States Supreme Court held that a general law prohibiting polygamy did not abridge the religious freedom of members of the Mormon faith guaranteed by the first amendment. The author here explores the background of Chief Justice Waite's opinion in Reynolds v. United States: the tenets and development of the Mormon faith in the United States, the character of the Waite Court, and the sources and development of Chief Justice Waite's opinion in the case.