20th Century, Civics, education, History, Intercession, Minnesota, Uncategorized, World War II

It’s Your G.I. Bill of Rights June 22, 1944

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Harry Colmery, Drafter of Servicemen’s Readjustment Act**

1944-1956
To help World War II veterans make a smooth transition back to civilian life, the U.S. government provided them with low-interest loans to put toward education, business startups, and housing expenses. The program, known as the Serviceman’s Readjustment Act, or more commonly, the “G.I. Bill of Rights,” also contained the 52-20 provision, which paid veterans $20 per week for up to 52 weeks while seeking employment.

According to the Veterans Administration (VA), a total of 7.8 million World War II vets took advantage of the G.I. Bill to get an education, and nearly 2.4 million benefited from VA-backed home loans. Less than 20 percent of the United States’ 16 million eligible veterans participated in the 52-20 program.*

“Never again do we want to see the honor and glory of our nation fade to the extent that her men of arms, with despondent heart and palsied limb, totter from door to door, bowing their souls to the frozen bosom of reluctant charity.”
American Legion Past National Commander Harry Colmery, after helping draft the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act in the winter of 1943-1944**

As the author of the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act, Colmery acted as the national catalyst to offer opportunity to the 15 million men and women returning from duty. R.B. Pitkin, editor of “The American Legion Magazine”, became a key figure in consolidating grassroots proposals, summarizes them into the following objectives.
Educational opportunity
Vocational on-the-job training
Readjustment allowances
Home, farm and business loans
Review of discharges
Adequate health care
Prompt settlement of disability claims
Mustering-out pay (removed from the bill after it was enacted separately)
Effective veteran employment services
Concentration of all veterans functions in the Veterans Administration ***

How did this look in the North Star state? Soon after the end of the war, nearly half the students in Minnesota colleges and universities are World War II veterans studying under the benefits of the G.I. Bill.**
For example, 25,000 vets enrolled at the University of Minnesota in this period; the most of anywhere in the nation. Local private college attendance also ballooned with returning vets; Bethel University had to expand from a two-year program to a four-year program to meet the demand.****

Yet, one wonders, how did this program impact the lives of its participants? Below are a few quotes from interviews with WWII veterans, conducted by writer Kevyn Burger.****
“Without the GI Bill, I never would have gone to college and I would have lived with disappointment… I had a hunger for learning I had to satisfy.”
Jeanne Bearmon, Women’s Army Corps.
“The GI Bill was fantastic, I got $75 a month to live on. That was plenty, more than enough. I had a nice room a few blocks from campus for $7 a week.”
Sherman Garon, US Army

Lord, there is something so beautiful about debts repaid, it’s almost indescribable! We commend these returning vets of WWII before You. We are doubly-honored as we think of them; they showed total commitment to freedom and freedom’s G-d, and our society echoed back its gratitude! What seems so exceptional about them is that they never seemed to expect payback from America?!

Of course, this is a generalization, but the circumstantial evidence and their testimonies prove it true over and over again. It reminds me of Your Holy Word.
“And that’s how it should be with you. When you’ve done all you should, then say, “We are merely servants, and we have simply done our duty.” Luke 17:10 CEV
What a joy it must have been to give this small token, the GI Bill, to those so humble and who so thoroughly utilized it?

We also specifically commend Colmery and Pitkin to You. We thank you for their gifts of vision and its administration. Will You bless our state and nation with similar leadership and administration? We perpetually need both dreamers and the activators of dreams; Will You give us the grace to do our role?

In contrast, we confess the limitations of administering the GI Bill in the present: it seems so bureaucratic, it feels un-relational, and the benefits seem far smaller than the costs of administering them. Our society wants to give to vets, it puts money in the offering plate, but somehow only $1 out of $7 seems to reach the hand that needs it. Will You help us with this problem? Will You stop our bickering over the amount we should give, and let us draw a straighter line between giver and receiver?

In the same way, we note the increase in the costs of education and student housing. Returning vets now routinely pay seventy to a hundred times the costs these servicemen and women paid for tuition and student housing?! Too many of these young men and women start their lives saddled with debt, yet they have taken the same risks as their forbearers; doing their duty up to the cost of their lives!

Presently, it feels as though we have lost our empathy for them. We are an heinously distracted people, continuously diverted from paying attention to real people and real relationships. Will You kindly reveal our GI Bill of wrongs, and the heart attitudes that foist scorn on the selfless service of others? Have mercy Lord, we don’t fully understand the depths of their sacrifice, nor of Yours!

“Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.” Romans 14:4 BSB*****

Minnesota Department of the American Legion. Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, MN. 1944. http://www.mnhs.org/mgg/artifact/gibill_rights
** https://www.legion.org/education/history
*** Pitkin, R.B. “The American Legion Magazine”. Jan.-Mar. 1969 ibid.
**** Burger, Kevyn, “GI Bill gave Minnesota veterans a path to the middle class”. StarTribune, Minneapolis, MN. 11-11-2014 Variety Section. (Kevyn Burger is a freelance writer and a newscaster at BringMeTheNews.com.)
***** https://www.biblehub.com/romans/14-4.htm

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20th Century, Civics, History, Intercession, Leadership, Minnesota, Politics

DFL Formed

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Apr 15, 1944
The Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party (DFL) is created on April 15, 1944, when the Minnesota Democratic Party and the Farmer-Labor Party merged. Hubert H. Humphrey is a driving force behind the merger of Democrats and Farmer-Laborites, but he turns down the new party’s nomination for governor.*

Going first to the source, the DFL website, we find that “Hubert H. Humphrey was instrumental in the merger and is considered by many to be the founder of the Minnesota DFL Party.”** Given the ubiquitous presence and success of the DFL in the current era, one can easily wonder: “What kind of rift existed between Democrats and the Farmer-Laborites back then? And “What was it about Humphrey’s leadership that helped to bridge this gap?” Below is a succinct history of the birth and early years of the DFL party in Minnesota as told by Minnpost author Iric Nathanson.***

“The 1944 merger was the result of a complex interaction of domestic and international political forces that created an unholy alliance between Robert Hannegan, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, and Earl Browder, the head of the U.S. Communist Party.

In 1944, World War II was still underway.  The Russians were allied with the United States in an effort to defeat the Nazis, and the Communist Party believed that its short-term interests were best served by aligning with the Democratic Party and supporting the Roosevelt administration’s war effort.  That position would soon change, but in 1944 it was the party line.  Browder directed his followers in Minnesota’s Farmer Labor Party to support the merger, and they did as they were told — albeit somewhat reluctantly.
Browder’s position also influenced left-leaning Farmer Laborites who were aligned with the Communists in a movement known as the Popular Front.

While Browder was supporting the merger for his own purposes, Hannegan was looking ahead to the 1944 presidential election. The DNC chairman feared the prospect of losing Minnesota to the Republicans if the forces on the left were split here, so the merger was very much in his party’s interests as well.”***

So, we see a marked distinction between the Democrats and Farmer- Laborites at the national level as to who would be their source of authority, Washington or the international Communist Party, but what were the crucial factors at the local level? One could argue that age played a role; former U.S. Vice President Walter Mondale stated that Humphrey, himself, and the young Democrats were mocked as “the Diaper Brigade”.**** According to retired Metro State University professor Tom O’Connell, the counter-punch was that the FLP had “grown long in the tooth”, ie. too old.

O’Connell offers another brilliant opinion as to the basis of this divide; the FLP was a response to the Great Depression while the liberal Democrats around Humphrey were shaped by World War II.**** This observation rings true because of the incredible contrasts Minnesotans’ experienced during these two ages. Children of the 1920’s and 1930’s remembered: scarcity of food, bankruptcy, chronically unemployed parents, Wall Street and the Federal Government fighting to win economic control while the average family loses. Granted, the 1940’s war generation also grew up with wants and rationing, but look at what they gained: opportunity to serve in the military, opportunity for nearly unlimited hours of employment for people from all walks of life, and a state and nation rallying together to triumph over the enemy.

Young liberals maintained control of the party for the next few years, but lost momentum in 1946 to the FLP. Balance returned in the 1948 DFL convention in Brainerd. Though controlled by the Humphrey wing initially, the left wing eventually bowed out, and held its own convention. Though they produced a list of electors, they lost their slate to Humphrey’s in a decision by the Minnesota Supreme Court.****

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Humphrey gained momentum with his strong anti-segregation speech at the DNC’s national convention of 1948. This famous oratory cinched adding a civil rights plank to the party’s platform. Below is an excerpt that crystalizes his vision for a post-war Minnesota, America, and the world at large.

“Yes, this is far more than a party matter. Every citizen has a stake in the emergence of the United States as the leader of the free world. That world is being challenged by the world of slavery. For us to play our part effectively, we must be in a morally sound position.
We cannot use a double standard for measuring our own and other people’s policies. Our demands for democratic practices in other lands will be no more effective than the guarantees of those practiced in our own country.”*****

We turn our thoughts to You now Lord; may we sit with You and watch this history? We love that You simultaneously are the most responsible leader in the universe, and also the most empathetic! We love that the government of eternity is on Your shoulders because You are omnipotent; infinitely capable. Will You lead us in our intercession for these events, and bring Your Healing Presence into them?

Remarkably, the first thoughts that come to my mind are from a speech by internationally-acclaimed bass player Victor Wooten. A core point of his talk was that music is a language, and we should pass it on in the same way as we teach our young ones our mother tongue; by living with them. Language is caught first, and taught later. Our parents look us in the eye, babble with us, talk to us, listen to us, and model a lifestyle.******

Many of our divides, Adonai, seem to commence at this same point. We are like parents who suck all the color and joy out of a our child’s initial passion for music by making it a chore. We don’t let them discover music through time with their instrument, but instantly burden them with sheet music, scales, and music theory. We do not take time to make music with them, but rigidly set a timer on the piano and say, “Don’t stop practicing until the buzzer goes off!”

Blessed and Holy Ruler, does this apply to April 15, 1944, and the politics of this era? We have tried, in the same breath, to have a political conversation and dominate a political conversation. We have spoken and written, concurrently, that the rules matter and that the rules don’t matter. We have practiced, simultaneously, to both respect boundaries, and disavow boundaries when they interfere with the goals of our revolution. We have looked outwardly for societies evils and put our hand on the heads of its scapegoats to transfer our sins and pain outwardly to them. We have not contemplated our own inward incompleteness that fuels our drive to power.

In all this, as Democratic and Farmer-Laborite Minnesotans, have deeply sinned against You. We have judged our neighbor as coming up short, but not ourselves! We have attempted a coup d’etat to usurp Your rightful position as Head Justice of the Universe, and have separated from justice in the process. We have offended You, and Your sacred image within our neighbor. Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on we sinners!

We continue, giving thanks, for the light and healing that began to heal this breach between liberals and progressives on April 15, 1944 and the years that followed. We thank You for those who let young people into the political process. We thank You for those who, in forbearance, overlooked their moments of overzealous energy, failure to understand parliamentary procedure, or arrogance and disrespect towards the Party’s elders. We invite Your blessings on us as a people; will You help and cause us to mentor our youth into wisdom, and active participation in leadership?

Moreover, we thank You thank You have given people eyelids, but not earlids! Hear our acknowledgement of those who listened to their beloved political enemies! We applaud those who heard the empty bellies of the Great Depression survivors and gave ear to the dawning rally cries of the generation of World War II! We bless this virtue of acknowledgement in Humphrey, and ask for leadership like his in the Midwest, both present and future tense, that tempers strong vision with a listening heart. May we rediscover the music of civil discourse, and the gratification of discovering our place in the song of Minnesota! May it be so!

“making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding;” Proverbs 2:2 ESV

Timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
** https://www.dfl.org/about/dfl-history/
*** https://www.minnpost.com/politics-policy/2008/02/political-warfare-looking-back-early-dfl-caucuses/ citing Nathanson, Iric. “Political warfare: Looking back at early DFL caucuses.” Minnpost. Internet. 4 February 2008.
**** https://www.minnpost.com/politics-policy/2019/09/as-the-dfl-marks-its-75th-anniversary-do-the-partys-farmer-labor-roots-still-mean-anything/ Callaghan, Peter. “As the DFL marks its 75th anniversary, do the party’s Farmer-Labor roots still mean anything?” Minnpost. Internet. 18 September 2019.
***** http://www.mnhs.org/library/tips/history_topics/42humphreyspeech/transcript.php
****** https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zvjW9arAZ0 Wooten, Victor. “Music as a Language: Victor Wooten at TEDxGabriolaIsland”. YouTube. 29 May 2013.
******* https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs+2%3A2&version=ESV

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19th Century, Americana, Architecture, Business, Civics, Energy, History, Industry, Intercession, Minnesota, omnipresent history, Real Estate, Science, Technology

Industrial Exposition 1886

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1886

“The Mill City answers St. Paul’s State Fair with the Minneapolis Industrial Exposition. Despite elaborate attractions and the latest wares of 800 exhibitors, the exposition can’t compete with the fair and closes its doors in 1893.” * 

“The idea for an exposition in Minneapolis arose in August 1885, when it became known that St. Paul had secured the permanent home of the Minnesota State Fair. Prominent citizens of Minneapolis such as Minneapolis Tribune owner Alden Blethen felt slighted, and an open meeting was called to gauge public support for an annual Minneapolis industrial fair, or exposition, to rival St. Paul’s agricultural one.” **

 Lord, we are competitors. Competition is not a sin, but the envy or covetousness that often accompany it leads to disunity or complete breaks in relationship. What do You want to reveal in this moment of rivalry in 1886? 

The Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul have had friendly rivalries that go far into our history. Will You forgive, first, the jokes, speech, and written words that have been used to put down the ‘other’ Twin City? Will You forgive the heart it reveals, one of mockery and pride? 

How many actions have resulted in our heritage because one “prominent citizen” felt slighted? There is nothing wrong with a human being of any status in society taking leadership according to their conscience. However, if the attitude of civic pride, in this case personified by Alden Blethen was an offense to You, will You forgive us? Will You forgive us our pettiness over another’s blessing? Will you help us; “seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” Jeremiah 29:7 ***

You have ideas for both of these places that we have not considered. What are they? Will You replace the rivalry of Minneapolis and St. Paul stemming from the Industrial Exposition of 1886 with blessing? Will You download into us a mindset that rejoices at the success of the other? Will You bless us with the kind of competition that brings virtue, excellence, and mutual respect?

* http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm

**Learn about the short life of this huge structure?

http://www.mnopedia.org/structure/industrial-exposition-building-minneapolis

***http://biblehub.com/jeremiah/29-7.htm

 

 

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19th Century, Business, Canada, Civics, Exploration, History, Industry, Intercession, Leadership, Minnesota, railroad, Transportation

Hill’s First Railroad 1879

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1879

“James J. Hill and his Canadian partners buy the near-bankrupt St. Paul and Pacific Railroad and rename it the St. Paul, Minneapolis and Manitoba. This is the beginning of the railroad career that will earn Hill the title “Empire Builder” and cement the importance of the Twin Cities as a commercial center. 

Hill’s career didn’t begin with railroads. He came to Minnesota at age 18, convincing a steamboat man to hire him as a clerk. From making sure freight reached the right people, he expanded into handling freight by boat, stagecoach, and wagon. By the time his empire was built, he was one of the nation’s leading industrialists. 

In 1891 James J. Hill will crown his success by building a house at 240 Summit Avenue in St. Paul. As massive and well-built as its owner’s railroad empire, the mansion will take three years to build and cost $931,275.01, furnished.” * 

Lord, thanks that You deal with us so patiently. You allow us to learn from our errors and seek You for mercy and truth. Thank You for the blessings of James J. Hill and his railroads.

However, we still feel the weight of the blessing and curses in the wake of his empire building! He was alleged to be duplicitous in his business dealings. He allegedly manipulated land grants or sales from cities, tribes, states, and the nations of Canada and the United States. He may have wreaked havoc on the stock market in his battle with Harriman of the Union Pacific line. **

Hill proved to be cut from a different cloth than the Robber Barons of his age whose modus operandi included manipulation of the stock market, public institutions and opinions, or Federal or State governments. In many ways, he retained the common-sense lessons of his Scots-Irish upbringing in Manitoba, Canada and the Midwestern states. A few examples of his forthright tongue and blue-collar wisdom below.

“Give me snuff, whiskey, and Swedes, and I will build a railway to hell.”

“Work, hard work, intelligent work, and then more work.”

“The wealth of the country, its capital, its credit, must be saved from the predatory poor as well as the predatory rich, but above all from the predatory politician.” ***

Lord, You are the righteous ruler and justice of North America. Will You remove the curses we have laid on James J. Hill and the lines he laid? Will You forgive his debts to the people of North America and the Midwest? Will You forgive us our injustices and betrayals of Your trust?

Like Mr. Hill, we kill our competitors and covet and build empires in our hearts. We plunder our enemies in our thoughts, and do not see our brothers and sisters as precious lives that You died and rose for! Have mercy on us: the ambitious, the coward, the sluggard, and the average! Remove the curses brought on us, our generations, the land, the property, and our homes both now and until Your return! May the pathway of this railway become a track of blessing to both Manitoba and the Twin Cities! Amen!

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org , is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!

** https://www.upress.umn.edu/book-division/books/harriman-vs-hill

*** https://www.azquotes.com/author/6703-James_J_Hill

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19th Century, Agriculture, Architecture, Business, Civics, Energy, History, Industry, Intercession, Labor, Minnesota, Mississippi River

Industry at St. Anthony Falls 1872

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1872

Minneapolis industries cluster around the power of St. Anthony Falls. The Minneapolis Board of Trade estimates that the 95 waterwheels at the falls produce 6,000 horsepower.*

Lord, thank You for the gift of the Mississippi and those who harnessed its power. Thank You for the individuals and groups that contributed to its’ planning and investment? You work through those who skillfully manage money! Will You bless the entrepreneur? You work through those who take major risks to create business?

Too often we are guilty of failing to properly acknowledge the reflection of Your glory through the wonderful skills of tradesmen and women! Do You enjoy watching your people build? Will You bless these and their generations’: the cement worker, the engineer, the steel worker, the electrician, the riggers, the teamsters, and any other who labored on these projects?

Lord forgive us the sin of loving ‘science’ while simultaneously negating your creation. You had a plan for this city far before we began to envision what was possible. You created many electrical systems as well as the principals of hydraulics and physics in nature long before we were alerted to their existence.

How many more mysteries do You have to reveal to us? Forgive this root of ‘scientific pride’ in Minnesota. Will You replace it with humility and eternal curiosity that makes us better stewards of Your creation, technological advancement, and more receptivity to Your ideas?

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org , is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!

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19th Century, Civics, Democrat, Governors, History, Intercession, Leadership, Minnesota, Politics, Prayer, railroad, Republican, State Government

Austin Becomes Governor

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January 9, 1870 to January 7, 1874
“Horace Austin takes office as the state’s sixth governor.

A reputation for clearheaded objectivity and disdain for contentious party politics enhanced the appeal of Judge Horace Austin as a gubernatorial candidate in 1869. Minnesota’s sixth governor was determined to bring legislative power to bear against the railroad barons. His advocacy of strictly regulated passenger and freight rates and his opposition to the wholesale allocation of state lands to railroad development earned him a second term. But he was unable to resolve completely the problems inherent in controlling a booming transportation industry and curbing the excesses of its owners.” *

Lord, thanks that You are our shield! To my knowledge, our people have suffered much through the over-reaching hands of the railroad. (Especially the farmers!) Thank You for providing a governor that would stand up to these barons; even if partially successful.

Will You forgive the judgements between us all: Minnesotans’, the railroad barons’, the U. S. Government, and our state government? We know that You have told us in Leviticus 19:35,36 to use “honest scales and honest weights”. Because You have forgiven us our debts, we forgive the numerous injustices perpetuated by all railroads, their employees, their owners, financiers, and any other party unnamed that have been bound in this unforgiveness.

Will You return us to a right relationships from where they skewed off in Austin’s term? Will You restore the lands that have been cursed through the contention between Indian Nations, citizens, and the railroad companies? There’s enough freedom for all in Your kingdom; help us to receive and give honor and freedom to our neighbor today! Thank You that Governor Horace Austin looked for solutions between the Democrats and Republicans! May we have more Governors and leaders like him who see and think in the areas of our common humanity. Amen!

* http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm

 

 

 

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19th Century, Civics, Governors, History, Intercession, Leadership, Minnesota, omnipresent history, Politics, Republican, State Government

Swift Becomes Governor

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July 10, 1863 to January 11, 1864

“Henry A. Swift takes office as the state’s third governor. Described by peers as gentle, self-effacing, and ambivalent toward politics, Henry Swift was Minnesota’s third governor for less than a year, completing the second term of Alexander Ramsey, who had been elected United States Senator. With little time or apparent inclination to effect major change, this un-elected governor concentrated on assuring the welfare of Civil War veterans.” *

It’s difficult to ascertain which information is critical to convey about any historical event, let alone a single human life. On this day, I chose to scan the data I could easily find about Governor Swift, but remain listening to what the Holy Spirit prompted me to underscore. 

This is what I’ve learned about him so far: he was very capable, he did his duty, and then he moved on. Below is an example, not unusual in party politics, where there is a hesitancy to take leadership. 

“Republican party leaders nominated Swift for Sibley County’s state Senate seat, after another candidate refused the offer.” **

G-d Almighty, thank for those, like Swift, who do their part and then get out of the way. Thank You for leaders uncorrupted by power and authority. Thank You for his example of humble governing. May his successes be amplified, his failures forgiven, and his generations be blessed by Jesus’ authority. Amen!

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm 

The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org , is fantastic! Check it out!

** (Session Weekly, St. Paul: Minnesota House of Representatives Information Office, April 2, 1993, p. 16) Internet. https://www.leg.state.mn.us/legdb/fulldetail?ID=15034

*** For more specific information regarding Governor Swift, see the link below:

http://www2.mnhs.org/library/findaids/gov017.xml

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19th Century, Americana, Business, Civics, History, Intercession, Minnesota, Real Estate

Nininger Founded

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October 1, 1856
“Minnesota is booming with grandiose plans and get-rich-quick schemes. John Nininger and Ignatius Donnelly establish the town of Nininger—on the south bank of the Mississippi River, five miles up river from Hastings—in the summer of 1856. Their town exists only on paper, but in their dreams it is a great metropolis, a center of commerce and culture, a rival of Chicago. Active sale of land and building operations begin about October 1, 1856.” *
Donnelly promotes Nininger across the nation. In February 1858 the legislature grants a charter to the town, and the town has shops, churches, a dance hall, a poor house, a school, and a population of perhaps as many as 1,000 persons. The dream town of Nininger declines steadily after the financial panic of 1857 that causes banks across the country to call in loans. People move away. Buildings disappear. The town eventually disappears from the map.

Lord, we are looking for heaven… but usually the one of our own design. You have given us imagination to organize society and solve civic problems. We often lack the humility to remain in relationship when we are hurt, or to forgive and resolve problems. Forgive any judgments of Donnelly and Nininger towards the residents of Nininger and each other. Forgive any counter judgments of the people of Nininger. Will You continue this process until full restoration?
Also, I acknowledge the financial judgments made in the panic of 1857: Eastern banks judged Western farmers, small business judged large business, etc. Lord, we have sinned against You by the judgments of the panic of 1857! Many have paid debts unfairly placed on them, and made counter judgments towards banks, businessmen, lawyers, city, county, and state officials etc.

Unfortunately, we are bound by our judgments of banks, as well as state and federal laws! Free us as a people in the North Star state! Heal our economy and our hearts that easily are swayed into discontent! We have coveted our neighbor’s property! We have coveted our neighbors’ real and imagined legal freedoms! We often submit to debt out of envy! Hear our prayer! Heal our land past, free us in the present, and blesser relationships to it in the future!

*http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm

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19th Century, Civics, education, government, History, law, Minnesota, Politics, Prayer, railroad, State Government

Bill for Minnesota Territory January 18, 1849  

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“Stephen Douglas proposes a bill for the creation of the Minnesota Territory.” *

Douglas was born in Vermont, and spent his early years there. When he was able, he migrated west and settled in Illinois. Within a year of moving west wrote is relatives back in Vermont saying,”I have become a Western man, have imbibed Western feelings principles and interests…” His political principles meshed nicely with the free-spirited populism of the west.**

Delegate to Congress from the soon-to-be “Western” Minnesota Territory, Henry H. Sibley worked with Senator Douglas to develop the nuts and bolts of this original proposal. Called the Organic Act, it provided organization of legal and legislative representation for the new territory. As an interesting sidebar, “an important provision of the Organic Act was the reservation of sections 16 and 36 of each township for school purposes.” ***

So we come to You to remember this event, Lord. We see, again, the spectacle of the mixed motives of Minnesota’s founders. On the one hand, they believe in organization, law, and education. On the other hand, the Territory soon enabled massive railroad land grants and corruption. In 1854, the Minnesota & Northwest Railroad, (eventually known as the Great Northern) committed so much fraud and bribery that their charter and land grants were revoked. Within three years, the same was granted five million acres and millions of dollars in bonds, yet they only built ten miles of railroad!? ****

We remember this dichotomy of purpose with You. Will You bless those, like Douglas and Sibley, who created the potential behind our state? We thank You for the aspirations of great men and women like them, who see the end from the beginning.

Conversely, we confess the dangers of living in a free society. Those who misuse their freedom can seek their own ends, and cause such devastation to their neighbors and the land. Will You have mercy on their selfishness, as well as the counter-judgment’s made by those most affected?

Minnesota is Your land. We are Your incomplete people. Come and help us live in right relationship with You and each other. Amen.

* http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
** http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_A._Douglas
*** https://www.sos.state.mn.us/about-minnesota/minnesota-government/organic-act-of-1849/
**** http://www.landgrant.org/history.html

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