Mormon Militia, Nauvoo Legion, Created to Defend Mormon Interests

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Mormons in Illinois found the Nauvoo Legion, an independent local militia tasked with defending Mormon interests. Joseph Smith is named lieutenant general of the Nauvoo Legion, the first American to claim that rank since George Washington. This ensured that Joseph Smith could not be tried at a court martial by officers of a lower rank.

There were an unusually high number of high-ranking officers relative to regular soldier, too. Joseph Smith will use the Nauvoo Legion to declare martial law after a newspaper dares criticize him. This leads to his arrest on charges of treason and then a mob killing him before trial.

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