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The Show Me State of Missouri was part of the Louisiana Purchase and immediately became known as the Missouri Territory. It entered the Union in 1821 as part of the Missouri Compromise. Its capital is Jefferson City and is situated on both the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, making it an essential transportation and commerce hub from the very beginning. In 1830, shortly after founding the Church of Christ, Joseph Smith announced that the Second Coming of Jesus Christ was at hand and that he would be near Independence, Missouri when he did return, which Smith predicted to be June 6, 1831. Furthermore, the church’s founder asserted, his followers were going to inherit the land which was held, at that time, by other settlers. His followers, called Mormons, began to move near Independence, in 1831 and this caused tensions among the previous settlers as they dominated both elections and the economy due to their cohesiveness. On election day, August 6, 1838, a mob of 200 tried to keep Mormons from voting in the county election. William Peniston, a Whig candidate for state legislature, stood on a barrel and called the Mormons “horse thieves, liars, counterfeiters, and dupes.” A brawl broke out, and while there were no fatalities, it is considered the first battle of the Missouri Mormon War. Vandalism, barn burnings and butchering of livestock abounded. When the mob had promised to “exterminate” the Mormons, “without regard to age or sex,” an appeal was made for Governor Boggs to help, but on October 10, 1838, he sent word that “the quarrel is between the Mormons and the mob.” On October 27, Governor Boggs announced that the Mormons had committed open defiance of the law and had tacitly declared war on Missourians. He signed an Executive Order indicating that they be “treated as enemies and must be exterminated or driven from the State,” and expelled all Mormons from the state. This order is sometimes called the Extermination Order.

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