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Fanny Alger was a teen-aged servant in the Smith's home. Joseph and Emma had "adopted" Fanny when she was about 16 years old (1833). She is believed to be either Joseph Smith's first polygamous "wife" or simply a sexual encounter. (The Church's essay, "Plural Marriage in Kirtland and Nauvoo," says it was a marriage, whereas Lawrence Foster said, "…contemporary evidence strongly suggests that Smith sustained sexual relations with Fanny Alger, it does not indicate that this was viewed either by Smith himself or by his associates at the time as a 'marriage.'" Dialogue Vol. 33 No. 1 pp. 184-86.) Critics believe he had an affair with her, was found out, and then introduced the concept of plural marriage in order to justify and continue his affair with her and then other women.Some historians record the date of the "marriage" as early as 1833, while others believe it was 1835, putting Fanny's age anywhere from 17-19. Fanny departed the Smith home sometime in 1836, the same year Oliver Cowdery was excommunicated for revealing Joseph Smith's "dirty, nasty, filthy affair of his and Fanny Alger's."Warren Parrish, the secretary of Joseph for a period of time, told Benjamin Johnson that he and Oliver Cowdery knew the report of an affair between Joseph and the girl to be true, for they "were spied upon and found together." (, 1903.)Critic's Note: Regardless of whether Joseph Smith's relations with Fanny Alger was merely a sexual encounter or a "marriage," it was adulterous. However, Joseph could only be , and even if it is claimed that the "marriage" was a symbolic "celestial only" sealing, the sealing power was not restored until April 1836, after Joseph's "marriage" to Fanny.Whether Joseph's "marriage" to Fanny Alger occurred in 1833 or 1835, it was illegal both under the laws of the land and under any theory of divine authority. Plural marriages are rooted in the notion of "sealing" for time and eternity. It is claimed that the "sealing power" was restored 3 April 1836 when Elijah appeared to Joseph and committed the sealing keys into his hands. (, The Joseph Smith Papers.) Until that time no one on earth had authority to "seal" Joseph and Fanny. As a result, his marriage to her was a nullity from the beginning both in time and eternity, and any sexual relationship he had with her was adulterous.As admitted in the LDS essay, "Plural Marriage in Kirtland and Nauvoo":

[C]areful estimates put the number [of Joseph Smith's wives] between 30 and 40.Following his marriage to Louisa Beaman and before he married other single women, Joseph Smith was sealed to a number of women who were already married.Estimates of the number of these sealings range from 12 to 14.
from the LDS website (also see footnote #24).In other words, Joseph "married" or was "sealed" to 12-14 women who were already legally wedded to other men at the time. Following is a list of Joseph's wives that we know of (some researchers estimate that the number may have been higher). A name indicated with an * was a living husband of the woman to whom Joseph Smith was "married" (From the website, )(The above table can be downloaded as a .)

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This is the testimony of a trustworthy witness, who, during a far longer residence in the country than that of Mr. Abdy, or MM de Tocqueville and de Beaumont, has enjoyed ample opportunities of observation. The discrepancy may be easily reconciled. It is but natural to suppose that the Americans, like all other people, will bear more from one person than from another; and that so warm an admirer as Dr. Lieber may have met with a more good-humoured reception for his small criticisms, than is given to the strictures of men who, like the other three gentlemen, have opinions which place them at direct variance with some of the strongest prejudices and most prominent characteristics of the American people.

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Nevertheless, for Mill the most desirable form of government, provided the people are willing and able to fulfil its conditions, is representative, because it offers the maximum opportunity for fostering men’s intelligence, virtue, and happiness. But at the same time he admits that where the people are morally and mentally unfit for this demanding form of rule, it may become an instrument of tyranny, and popular elections less a security against misgovernment than an additional wheel in its machinery (378). Even in the progressive democracies many men are content to be passive in public affairs. Absorbed in private cares and satisfactions, they patiently endure social evils and surrender to the pressure of circumstances. Usually present, however, are an energetic and active few who express thought, advocate innovations, and encourage provocative debate, thus making progress possible. Representative institutions enable these few to thrash out differences and reach workable agreements for the common good. With characteristic sober optimism Mill describes the competitive and restless spirit of liberal society as he perceives it in the nineteenth century: “All intellectual superiority is the fruit of active effort. Enterprise, the desire to keep moving, to be trying and accomplishing new things for our own benefit or that of others, is the parent even of speculative, and much more of practical, talent. . . . The character which improves human life is that which struggles with natural powers and tendencies, not that which gives way to them.” (407.)

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The Return of Hunger Essay | Feeding Hunger

In the New England States, the part of the Union in which the municipal system which generally prevails through the whole, has been brought to the greatest perfection, the following are its leading principles. The country is parcelled out into districts called townships, containing, on an average, from two to three thousand inhabitants. Each township manages its local concerns within itself; judicial business excepted, which, more wisely than their English brethren, the Americans appear to keep separate from all other functions. The remaining part—that is, the administrative part of the local business—is not only under the complete control of the people—but the people themselves, convened in general assembly, vote all local taxes, and decide on all new and important undertakings. While the deliberative part of the administration is thus conducted directly by the people, the executive part is in the hands of a variety of officers, annually elected by the people, and mostly paid. The following details will be read with interest: