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Syndication

(March of the Governors Podcast #18)

Adolph Eberhart (1870-1944) was a penniless, immigrant child from Varmland, Sweden, who embraced the opportunities the United States offered. Despite minimal schooling, he was named valedictorian of his class at Gustavus Adolphus College. He later became a lawyer, state senator, lieutenant governor, and then, governor. As a Republican governor, Eberhart engineered one of the most productive legislative sessions in Minnesota history and signed into law a remarkable host of progressive measures. Despite these successes, he became the first incumbent governor unseated in a primary. Eberhart seems also to have led an exemplary personal life. In 1915, he published a song (performed in the podcast), “‘Tis Only You,” which he dedicated to his wife.

Direct download: RCHP_Governors_18--Peterson_on_Eberhart.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:48am CDT

John Albert Johnson (March of the Governors Series #17)
Minnesota’s sixteenth governor, John Albert Johnson, was our fourth from St. Peter. He had a “rags-to-riches Horatio Alger life.” The son of Swedish immigrants, he quit school at age twelve to support his mother and siblings. Self-educated, he eventually became a newspaper editor, state legislator, and was elected governor three times. If he hadn’t died during his third term at the age of forty-seven, Johnson would have likely been a serious candidate for the presidency in 1912. His priorities in office were those of the Progressive Era—improved conservation, making the tax system more fair, better regulation of business, and protection for workers. Johnson unsuccessfully urged women’s suffrage, ending capital punishment, and direct election of US senators. One of our most popular governors, today, his statue stands in front of the state capitol.

Direct download: 20220113_johnson_for_posting.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:55pm CDT

March of the Governors, Podcast #16
Samuel Van Sant

Samuel Van Sant was Minnesota’s fifteenth governor—the first to serve in the twentieth century and the first to occupy the current capitol. After three years of combat duty in the Union cavalry  (1861-1864), Van Sant joined the family steamboat business in LeClaire, Iowa. In 1883, he moved to Winona and soon went into politics. A Republican, he was elected to the legislature in 1892 and rose to speaker of the house just two years later. A gifted public speaker, he was elected governor in 1900 and reelected in 1902. In keeping with the spirit of the age, he championed such progressive measures as reform of the state's tax system, advocating for wilderness protection, and extending the use of the primaries to nominate candidates. In the decades following his retirement from political office, Van Sant became a national leader in Civil War veterans’ affairs and was a popular speaker at Republican gatherings throughout Minnesota. He died in 1936 at the age of ninety-two.

Direct download: 20220516_van_sant_for_posting.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:57pm CDT

Three-term US congressman John Lind, a traditional Republican with a stream of populism coursing through his veins, made a major political course change in 1894. Unhappy with Republican policies, Lind, the first Swedish-American elected to Congress, opted not to run for a fourth term and quit the party. Two years later a fusion of Democrats, Populists and left-leaning Republicans convinced him to run for governor. David Clough narrowly defeated him. In 1898, Lind returned for another gubernatorial run, this time cruising to a convincing victory. A self-described political orphan during his second run for governor, John Lind proved a zealous, highly-principled advocate for progressive ideals. This former Republican broke that party’s hold on the governorship that began in 1859 with Alexander Ramsey.

Direct download: lind_for_posting_May_edit.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:17pm CDT

David Marston Clough was a lumber baron and politician who served as Minnesota’s Republican governor from 1895 to 1899. Born in New Hampshire in 1846, he moved with his family to Spencer Brook Township, Minnesota, in 1857. He was successful in the lumber business and moved into politics, serving as a city council member in Minneapolis, state senator, and lieutenant governor before his elevation to the gubernatorial seat upon the election of Governor Knute Nelson to the US Senate. He was then elected in his own right and served one two-year term before declining to run for reelection (and controversially endorsing the Democratic candidate in the following election). Shortly thereafter, he moved to Everett, Washington, to continue in the lumber business until his death in 1924.

Direct download: clough_for_posting.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:44am CDT

Knute Nelson (1843-1923) spent two years as Governor of Minnesota on his way to becoming a representative in the US Senate, where he served for twenty-eight years. Nelson was the first prominent Scandinavian-American politician in Minnesota and in the United States. He immigrated from Voss, Norway, to Chicago as a six-year-old child and spent most of his upbringing in Norwegian-immigrant communities in Wisconsin. He made his way to Minnesota after serving in the Union Army during the Civil War and apprenticing to become a lawyer. As a politician, Nelson leveraged his dual identity as a Norwegian and war veteran to gain support from both Scandinavian and American-born populations. During Nelson’s long and accomplished career, he made what is arguably his longest-lasting mark as a US representative with the passage of the Nelson Act in 1888. 
Direct download: 20210602_nelson_for_posting_copy.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:00am CDT

Ramsey County Historical Society presents March of the Governors #12: William Merriam.

William Merriam (1849-1931) was the first Minnesota governor born into wealth and the first to break an unwritten code of the Minnesota Republican Party when he wrested the party’s nomination from the incumbent governor, Andrew McGill, in 1888. He proved a much better vote-getter than McGill (that year, anyway), but still won his first election with only 51 percent of the vote. The next time around he did much worse—he was re-elected, yes, but with only 36 percent of the vote in a four-way contest. With his Republican Party fractured and the legislature divided, he was unable to get much done in office. He did not try for a third term. His second act, as director of the United States Census Bureau, was far more successful. When he took that job in 1897, he left Minnesota and never returned. He is known, to some, as the Father of the Modern US Census.

Direct download: RCHPodcast-NelsononMerriam.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 4:51pm CDT

Andrew McGill (1840-1905), our tenth governor, served one tumultuous term in office after 13 years as state insurance commissioner. Because of divisions in the Republican Party and the strength of his main opponent, Alonzo Ames, he won by only 2600 votes in the election of 1886. After a moderately successful two years as governor, the Republican Party, doubting his ability to win, dumped him in 1888. This was the first time a sitting governor had been denied renomination. McGill’s post-governor career was more successful: He served four terms in the state senate and as postmaster of St. Paul, and became a highly respected figure. His house on Langford Park still stands.

Direct download: mcgill.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 10:41am CDT

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