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Today in 1896, Utah became a state — after abandoning polygamy

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Posted at 7:33 AM, Jan 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-04 09:49:32-05

SALT LAKE CITY — It was on Jan. 4, 1896 that Utah officially became a state.

A celebration at the Salt Lake Tabernacle on Jan. 4, 1896 (Image courtesy Utah Dept. of Heritage & Arts collection)

A celebration at the Salt Lake Tabernacle on Jan. 4, 1896 (Image courtesy Utah Dept. of Heritage & Arts collection)

President Grover Cleveland signed the proclamation, making Utah the 45th state in the nation. According to publications by the Utah Department of Heritage and Arts, the territory of “Deseret” had desired to become a state for decades, but Congress had repeatedly rejected it on the grounds that Mormons were practicing polygamy, as well as women voting.

Outside ZCMI on Statehood Day (Image courtesy Utah Dept. of Heritage & Arts Collection).

Outside ZCMI on Statehood Day (Image courtesy Utah Dept. of Heritage & Arts Collection).

In 1890, Wilford Woodruff, the president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, issued what was known as “The Manifesto” and officially abandoned the practice of plural marriage.

When Utah was officially declared a state, the ban on polygamy was explicitly mentioned in the presidential proclamation:

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Courtesy Utah Dept. of Heritage & Arts

Courtesy Utah Dept. of Heritage & Arts

According to historical accounts, Salt Lake City erupted in celebration at  becoming the 45th state in the nation.

People celebrating on the streets of Salt Lake City in this photo part of the Utah Dept. of Heritage & Arts collection.

People celebrating on the streets of Salt Lake City in this photo part of the Utah Dept. of Heritage & Arts collection.

A copy of the Deseret Evening News on Statehood Day, Jan. 4, 1896 in this photo courtesy Utah Dept. of Heritage & Arts

A copy of the Deseret Evening News on Statehood Day, Jan. 4, 1896 in this photo courtesy Utah Dept. of Heritage & Arts