Mormonism was established during a time of great religious fever. Americans reacted violently to its formation because it threatened American ideals. The negative reaction marked a period of intolerance against Mormons in a country that was founded on the basis of religious freedom.
Nineteenth century Americans had distinct beliefs as to what religion, government, and family should look like. Mormonism challenged all of these beliefs.
"It is one of the great paradoxes of the Mormon experience in the nineteenth century that the American flag suggested to the Latter-day Saints both promise and oppression; it served them as emblem of God's purpose and designs and bitter ensign of a nation that expelled, disenfranchised, and persecuted them" (Givens 2).