Stanford scholar delivers Arrington Lecture on Thursday

LOGAN – Stanford University historian Richard White, a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist, will deliver the 25th annual Leonard J. Arrington Mormon History Lecture Thursday, Sept. 19 at the Logan Tabernacle.

He will talk about the impact of the transcontinental railroad, which was supposed to insure the growth of the far west, but he says some states lost population after the railroad was built.

”And for Utah, of course, it’s going to be a mixed bag because in Utah what you do get is connections with the eastern United States,” White explains. “But, in fact, much of Utah didn’t want those connections with the eastern United States.

“The point of settling Utah was to get away from what they regarded as American domination and American persecution. So they find themselves now with improved transportation but also with increased gentile migration.”

Dr. White taught at the University of Utah in the early 1980s and says he was privileged to know Dr. Arrington then.

”He was still alive and at that time was not only the dean of Mormon historians, but he’s one of the people who got me interested in economic history in general. He was, for those doing western history, a sort of larger-than-life figure.”

The lecture begins at 7 p.m. at the Logan Tabernacle and it is free.

According to White’s book Railroaded: The Transcontinentals and the making of Modern America, the railroads “rent holes in the political, social and environmental fabric of the nation, creating railroads as mismanaged and corrupt as they were long.”

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