Minnesota Farmer–Labor Party

  (Redirected from Farmer-Labor Party of Minnesota)

The Minnesota Farmer–Labor Party (FL) was a left-wing American political party in Minnesota between 1918 and 1944. Largely dominating Minnesota politics during the Great Depression, it was one of the most successful statewide third party movements in United States history and the longest-lasting affiliate of the national Farmer–Labor movement. At its height in the 1920s and 1930s, party members included three Minnesota governors, four United States senators, eight United States representatives and a majority in the Minnesota legislature.

Farmer–Labor Party of Minnesota
Founded1918 (1918)
Dissolved1944 (1944)
Preceded byNonpartisan League
Succeeded byMinnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party
IdeologyPopulism
Progressivism
Cooperative economics
Political positionLeft-wing
National affiliationLabor Party of the United States (1919–20)
Farmer–Labor Party of the United States (1920–23; 1924–36)
Federated Farmer–Labor Party (1923–24)
None (1918–19; 1936–44)

In 1944, Hubert H. Humphrey and Elmer Benson worked to merge the party with the state's Democratic Party, forming the contemporary Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party.[1]

HistoryEdit

 
Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party political banner

The Minnesota Farmer–Labor Party emerged from the Nonpartisan League in North Dakota and the Union Labor Party in Duluth, Minnesota, on a platform of farmer and labor union protection, government ownership of certain industries, and social security laws.[2] One of the primary obstacles of the party, besides constant vilification on the pages of local and state newspapers, was the difficulty of uniting the party's divergent base and maintaining political union between rural farmers and urban laborers who often had little in common other than the populist perception that they were an oppressed class of hardworking producers exploited by a small elite. According to political scientist George Mayer:

The farmer approached problems as a proprietor or petty capitalist. Relief to him meant a mitigation of conditions that interfered with successful farming. It involved such things as tax reduction, easier access to credit, and a floor under farm prices. His individualist psychology did not create scruples against government aid, but he welcomed it only as long as it improved agricultural conditions. When official paternalism took the form of public works or the dole, he openly opposed it because assistance on such terms forced him to abandon his chosen profession, to submerge his individuality in the labor crew, and to suffer the humiliation of the bread line. Besides, a public works program required increased revenue, and since the state relied heavily on the property tax, the cost of the program seemed likely to fall primarily on him.
At the opposite end of the seesaw sat the city worker, who sought relief from the hunger, exposure, and disease that followed the wake of unemployment. Dependent on an impersonal industrial machine, he had sloughed off the frontier tradition of individualism for the more serviceable doctrine of cooperation through trade unionism. Unlike the depressed farmer, the unemployed worker often had no property or economic stake to protect. He was largely immune to taxation and had nothing to lose by backing proposals to dilute property rights or redistribute the wealth. Driven by the primitive instinct to survive, the worker demanded financial relief measures from the state.[3]

The Minnesota Democratic Party, led by Hubert Humphrey, was able to merge with the Farmer–Labor Party on April 15, 1944. Since 1944, the two parties together make up the Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party.

Notable membersEdit

Notable politicians electedEdit

 
The 1922 Farmer–Labor Convention, held in Minneapolis

Electoral HistoryEdit

Minnesota State OfficesEdit

Governor Lieutenant Governor Attorney General
Year Nominee # votes % votes Place Notes Year Nominee # votes % votes Place Notes Year Nominee # votes % votes Place Notes
1918 David H. Evans 111,948
30.28 / 100
2nd of 5 1918 Did Not Contest 1918 Did Not Contest
1920 Did Not Contest 1920 Did Not Contest 1920 Did Not Contest
1922 Magnus Johnson 295,479
43.13 / 100
2nd of 3 1922 Arthur A. Siegler 267,417
39.59 / 100
2nd of 3 1922 Roy C. Smelker 254,715
39.41 / 100
2nd of 3
1924 Floyd B. Olson 366,029
43.84 / 100
2nd of 5 1924 Emil E. Holmes 345,633
42.86 / 100
2nd of 3 1924 Thomas V. Sullivan 342,236
42.59 / 100
2nd of 3
1926 Magnus Johnson 266,845
38.09 / 100
2nd of 3 1926 Emil E. Holmes 236,307
35.62 / 100
2nd of 3 1926 Frank McAllister 214,781
33.32 / 100
2nd of 3
1928 Ernest Lundeen 227,193
22.72 / 100
2nd of 5 1928 Thomas J. Meighen 235,133
24.96 / 100
2nd of 3 1928 C. F. Gaarenstroom 192,472
20.87 / 100
2nd of 3
1930 Floyd B. Olson 473,154
59.34 / 100
Elected 1930 Henry M. Arens 345,225
50.32 / 100
Elected 1930 Joseph B. Himsl 256,581
36.57 / 100
2nd of 3
1932 Floyd B. Olson 522,438
50.57 / 100
Re-elected 1932 Konrad K. Solberg 429,759
45.34 / 100
Elected 1932 Harry H. Peterson 379,418
39.87 / 100
Elected
1934 Floyd B. Olson 468,812
44.61 / 100
Re-elected 1934 Hjalmar Petersen 428,897
43.64 / 100
Elected 1934 Harry H. Peterson 436,140
44.89 / 100
Re-elected
1936 Elmer Austin Benson 680,342
60.74 / 100
Elected 1936 Gottfrid Lindsten 502,856
47.46 / 100
Elected 1936 Harry H. Peterson 530,815
49.62 / 100
Re-elected
1938 Elmer Austin Benson 387,263
34.18 / 100
2nd of 4 1938 John J. Kinzer 374,577
34.73 / 100
2nd of 3 1938 William S. Ervin 378,385
35.56 / 100
2nd of 3
1940 Hjalmar Petersen 459,609
36.55 / 100
2nd of 4 1940 Howard Y. Williams 305,418
26.11 / 100
2nd of 3 1940 David J. Erickson 284,337
24.35 / 100
2nd of 3
1942 Hjalmar Petersen 299,917
37.76 / 100
2nd of 5 1942 Juls J. Anderson 250,410
33.42 / 100
2nd of 3 1942 David J. Erickson 187,074
25.48 / 100
2nd of 3
Secretary of State Treasurer Auditor
Year Nominee # votes % votes Place Notes Year Nominee # votes % votes Place Notes Year Nominee # votes % votes Place Notes
1918 Did Not Contest 1918 Did Not Contest 1918 Did Not Contest
1920 Lily J. Anderson 193,658
26.37 / 100
2nd of 5 1920 John P. Wagner 191,429
26.19 / 100
2nd of 4 1920 Seat Not Up
1922 Susie W. Stageberg 247,757
37.37 / 100
2nd of 3 1922 Frank H. Keyes 294,102
46.39 / 100
2nd of 2 1922 Eliza Evans Deming 253,913
39.60 / 100
2nd of 3
1924 Susie W. Stageberg 288,946
35.75 / 100
2nd of 3 1924 Carl M. "C. M." Berg 322,585
40.67 / 100
2nd of 3 1924 Seat Not Up
1926 Charles Olson 217,424
32.60 / 100
2nd of 2 1926 Thomas J. Meighen 244,861
38.89 / 100
2nd of 2 1926 S. O. Tjosvold 218,074
34.52 / 100
2nd of 2
1928 Susie W. Stageberg 178,096
18.41 / 100
2nd of 3 1928 Peter J. Seberger 205,228
21.95 / 100
2nd of 3 1928 Seat Not Up
1930 Anna Olson Determan 209,596
27.36 / 100
2nd of 4 1930 Frederick B. Miller 271,286
37.41 / 100
2nd of 3 1930 Henry Teigan 260,272
35.96 / 100
2nd of 3
1932 John T. Lyons 342,496
34.79 / 100
2nd of 4 1932 Albert H. Kleffman 360,498
37.72 / 100
2nd of 3 1932 Seat Not Up
1934 Konrad K. Solberg 359,322
35.46 / 100
2nd of 4 1934 Albert H. Kleffman 377,472
38.78 / 100
2nd of 3 1934 John T. Lyons 379,654
38.69 / 100
2nd of 3
1936 Paul C. Hartig 426,668
39.16 / 100
2nd of 4 1936 C. A. Halverson 468,713
43.79 / 100
Elected 1936 Seat Not Up
1938 Paul A. Rasmussen 328,474
29.81 / 100
2nd of 3 1938 C. A. Halverson 378,160
35.27 / 100
2nd of 3 1938 John T. Lyons 364,636
33.98 / 100
2nd of 3
1940 James I. Heller 230,148
19.07 / 100
2nd of 3 1940 C. A. Halverson 296,477
25.25 / 100
2nd of 3 1940 Seat Not Up
1942 Daniel D. Collins 146,825
19.07 / 100
2nd of 3 1942 Charles J. Johnson 183,458
24.78 / 100
2nd of 3 1942 Did Not Contest

Minnesota Federal OfficesEdit

U.S. Senate U.S. House of Representatives
Year Nominee # votes % votes Place Notes Election Leader Votes Seats Position Control
1918 Did Not Contest 1918 Did Not Contest
0 / 10
  Republican
1920 No Seat Up 1920 N/A 62,332 8.34%
0 / 10
  Republican
1922 Henrik Shipstead 325,372
47.10 / 100
Elected 1922 N/A 35,551 5.58%
1 / 10
  1 Republican
1923 (S) Magnus Johnson 290,165
57.48 / 100
Elected 1924 N/A 337,035 41.48%
3 / 10
  2 Republican
1924 Magnus Johnson 380,646
45.50 / 100
2nd of 5
1926 No Seat Up 1926 N/A 230,758 35.03%
2 / 10
  1 Republican
1928 Henrik Shipstead 665,169
65.38 / 100
Re-elected 1928 N/A 251,126 25.84%
1 / 10
  1 Republican
1930 Ernest Lundeen 178,671
22.89 / 100
3rd of 5 1930 N/A 271,599 35.75%
1 / 10
  Republican
1932 No Seat Up 1932 N/A 388,616 38.75%
5 / 9
  4 Farmer-Labor
1934 Henrik Shipstead 503,379
49.87 / 100
Re-elected 1934 N/A 376,927 37.86%
3 / 9
  2 Republican
1936 (S) Did Not Contest 1936 N/A 462,714 42.40%
5 / 9
  2 Farmer-Labor
1936 Ernest Lundeen 663,363
62.24 / 100
Elected
1938 No Seat Up 1938 N/A 338,684 31.63%
1 / 9
  4 Republican
1940 Elmer Austin Benson 310,875
25.70 / 100
2nd of 5 1940 N/A 298,250 24.74%
1 / 9
  Republican
1942 Elmer Austin Benson 213,965
28.21 / 100
2nd of 4 1942 N/A 151,684 19.92%
1 / 9
  Republican

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Farmer Labor Party". Spartacus. Retrieved 2007-08-31.
  2. ^ Hudelson, Richard & Ross, Carl. By the ore docks : a working people's history of Duluth Minneapolis : University of Minnesota Press, 2006. ISBN 0-8166-4636-8 pp. 144–150.
  3. ^ George H. Mayer, The Political Career of Floyd B. Olson, Reprint, (Minneapolis, MN: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1987) 86-87.

Further readingEdit

  • Benson, Elmer A. "Politics in My Lifetime." Minnesota History 47 (1980): 154-60. online
  • Garlid, George W. "The Antiwar Dilemma of the Farmer-Labor Party." Minnesota History (1967): 365-374. in JSTOR
  • Gieske, Millard L. Minnesota Farmer-Laborism: The Third-Party Alternative (1979) 389pp
  • Haynes, John Earl. Dubious alliance: the making of Minnesota's DFL Party (U of Minnesota Press, 1984)
  • Haynes, John Earl. "Farm Coops and the Election of Hubert Humphrey to the Senate." Agricultural History (1983): 201-211. in JSTOR
  • Haynes, John Earl. "The new history of the communist party in state politics: The implications for mainstream political history." Labor History (1986) 27#4 pp: 549-563.
  • Hyman, Colette A. "Culture as Strategy: Popular Front Politics and the Minneapolis Theatre Union, 1935-39." Minnesota History (1991): 294-306. in JSTOR
  • Lovin, Hugh T. "The Fall of Farmer-Labor Parties, 1936-1938." Pacific Northwest Quarterly (1971): 16-26. in JSTOR
  • McCoy, Donald R. Angry voices: Left-of-center politics in the New Deal era (1958; reprint 2012)
  • Mayer, George H. The Political Career of Floyd B. Olson (1987)
  • Mitau, G. Theodore. "The Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party Schism of 1948." Minnesota History (1955): 187-194. in JSTOR
  • Sofchalk, Donald G. "Union and Ethnic Group Influence in the 1938 Election on the Minnesota Iron Ranges." Journal of the West (2003) 42#3 pp: 66-74.
  • Valelly, Richard M. Radicalism in the States: The Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party and the American Political Economy (University of Chicago Press, 1989)

External linksEdit