John Moses (American politician)

John Moses (June 12, 1885 – March 3, 1945) was the 22nd Governor of North Dakota from 1939 to 1945, and served in the United States Senate in 1945 until his death that year.

John Moses
John Moses.jpg
United States Senator
from North Dakota
In office
January 3, 1945 – March 3, 1945
Preceded byGerald Nye
Succeeded byMilton Young
22nd Governor of North Dakota
In office
January 5, 1939 – January 4, 1945
LieutenantJack A. Patterson
Oscar W. Hagen
Henry Holt
Clarence P. Dahl
Preceded byWilliam Langer
Succeeded byFred G. Aandahl
Personal details
Born(1885-06-12)June 12, 1885
Strand, Norway
DiedMarch 3, 1945(1945-03-03) (aged 59)
Rochester, Minnesota
Political partyDemocratic


Moses was born in Strand in Rogaland county, Norway in 1885. He was the son of Reverend Henrik B. and Isabella (Eckersberg) Moses. He attended public school in Norway, and graduated from the high school at Kongsvinger in 1900 and from junior college in Oslo in 1903. He came to the United States in 1905 and worked for the Great Northern Railway from 1906 to 1911. He entered the University of North Dakota in 1912, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1914. He entered the University of North Dakota Law School and graduated with a Juris Doctor degree in 1915. He began practicing law at Hazen, North Dakota in 1917. He was married to Ethel Joslyn and had four children.[1]

Political careerEdit

From 1919 until 1923, and later from 1927 until 1933, Moses served as State's Attorney for Mercer County. In 1936 he came in third in the three-way governor's race, behind former governors William Langer and Walter Welford. Moses became governor in 1939, following William Langer's second term in the office. Moses worked hard to reduce Langer's influence. He sought to cut government spending and to balance the state's budget. Moses was in office during World War II. He tried to encourage war-time industries to locate in the state, but North Dakota ranked last in the nation for receiving war spending. Despite the lack of wartime appropriations, Moses' administration was a time of prosperity for the state. Rainfall was plentiful and there was a ready market for agriculture products. Moses was a popular governor. During his election campaign he gave speeches in English, German, or Norwegian, depending on his audience. A Democrat, Moses was noted for his support from both political parties. In 1944 Moses defeated Gerald P. Nye for a seat in the United States Senate.


Moses died on March 3, 1945, shortly after taking his place in the Senate.[2] He is buried in St. Mary's Cemetery, Bismarck, North Dakota.[3]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "John Moses". National Governors Association. Retrieved 6 September 2012.
  2. ^ "Governor John Moses(North Dakota Governors Exhibit)". Retrieved 2013-02-16.
  3. ^ "John Moses". Soylent Communications. Retrieved 6 September 2012.

Further readingEdit

  • Schweitzer, Adam John Moses and the New Deal in North Dakota (Master’s thesis, University of North Dakota, 1954)

External linksEdit

Party political offices
Preceded by
Thomas H. Moodie
Democratic nominee for Governor of North Dakota
1936, 1938, 1940, 1942
Succeeded by
William T. DePuy
Preceded by
J. J. Nygard
Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from North Dakota
(Class 3)

Succeeded by
William Lanier
Political offices
Preceded by
William Langer
Governor of North Dakota
Succeeded by
Fred G. Aandahl
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
Gerald P. Nye
U.S. senator (Class 3) from North Dakota
Served alongside: William Langer
Succeeded by
Milton R. Young