20th Century, Culture, government, History, Intercession, Jesus, law, Minnesota, State Government, Transportation

First Automobile License Issued

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May 2, 1903
The automobile era kicks off in Minnesota as a Packard in St. Paul receives license number 1. St. Paul’s first automobile fatality occurs just weeks later when a child is hit on Selby Avenue between Dale and St. Albans streets.** The city’s first automatic traffic signal lights up 20 years later; it stands on a ten-foot-tall pedestal at the intersection of Fifth and St. Peter streets.*

Why is it that we take delight in travel, exploration, and pure speed, Lord? Let’s think about the progression a little. Human beings have used their legs for eons, then the legs of various animals, and next the vehicles of their own invention: boats, carts, sleds, etc. Soon, we figured out mechanical means to augment our human, wind, or animal-powered vehicles with the refinement of the steam engine. Eventually the limitations of that power pushed us to adopt the internal combustion engine. Now we are in the era of fuel cell engines, and the dawning of practical electrical-powered vehicles.
Again, moving around the wheel, full circle; why do we want or need to move faster, farther, on less fuel? Why is it that the human creature wants to explore its habitat, which is natural, but then push far past the limitations of its home? Are there examples in the animal kingdom of creatures that explore out of curiosity rather than as a means of survival? A dog will happily sniff the scents of Lake Superior if it has never visited it, but will it long to cross it and see the other side?
Or do we long to see that other side because of discontent? We may not appreciate or flourish in our current environment, and we wonder “ Is there a greener pasture out there somewhere?” Perhaps it’s boredom? We adopt routines that shape how we use time, but break with them in varying degrees dependent on our personalities and discipline. We feel the impulse to stop the cycle of repetition.
Regardless of our motives, I thank You for the gift of the automobile. I thank you for the day of May 2, 1903 and the willingness of the owner of the first car in Minnesota to explore a new mode of transportation. Thank you for the gift of the freedom to travel, and how that travel has benefitted generations of our state. Thank you for all the goods and services we access because the automobile led to the truck. Thank you for the imaginations of individuals like Etienne Lenoir, Niklaus Otto, Gottlieb Daimler, Wilhelm Maybach, Karl Benz, James Atkinson, Edward Butler, and Rudolf Diesel!

*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!

**See how far we’ve come in terms of safety over the past 115 years? http://amhistory.si.edu/onthemove/exhibition/exhibition_8_2.html

 

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20th Century, Civics, Economics, government, History, Intercession, Jesus, law, Minnesota, Politics, railroad, State Government

Van Sant Becomes Governor

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Jan 7, 1901 to Jan 4, 1905
Samuel R. Van Sant takes office as the state’s 15th governor on January 7, 1901. He began his career as a riverboat builder on the Upper Mississippi. As Minnesota’s fifteenth governor, he led the fight to brake the runaway powers of the railroads.*

Read an excerpt of what it meant to be a “trustbuster” in his era?

“The second was the establishment of the State Board of Control to take on the railroad monopolies. The old riverboat captain didn’t have much love for his main competition on the iron rails. He particularly detested the Northern Securities Company run by James J. Hill and J.P. Morgan. The jovial riverboat captain turned out to be a very determined trustbuster. Van Sant’s battle soon turned into one of the biggest court dramas to ever come out of Minnesota in this suit to dissolve the Hill-Morgan railroad monopoly. He soon won the backing of President Teddy Roosevelt under the newly passed Sherman Antitrust Act. In 1904 the Supreme Court, by a vote of 5 to 4, upheld the determination that the Northern Securities Company was an illegal restraint of trade and the trust was broken up.”

Tuma, John. “Let’s Not Go Backward.” Conservation Minnesota March 2012 Web. 22 Jun. 2013. <http://www.conservationminnesota.org/news/headlines/lets-not-go-backward/&gt;

Father, thank you that Van Sant fought the monopolist powers of Minnesota in his term. His experience with the Northern Securities Company underscores an achilles heel of free markets; highly successful companies may eventually eliminate the competition in their fields and form monopolies or oligarchies. The most sought after form of land transportation of the North Star state was controlled by just two men; James J. Hill and J. P. Morgan.

You have given us clues in the Bible regarding property rights and ownership. Tribal allotment of specific geographic territories are described in the book of Joshua. All descendants of the sons of Jacob had land based on birthright. Land could be bought and sold, more like leased, but only for a fixed number of years until the Jubilee.

The Year of Jubilee described in Leviticus 25:8-13 is a year of pardon, for personal sins, debts, release of slaves, and a return of tribal property. So, we currently practice ownership of property, but do not have a system for forgiveness whether personal, labor, or property-based. Some may argue that bankruptcy fulfills this role, but is incomplete when compared to the model of the Pentateuch.

Although the Supreme Court upheld the position of the people regarding the railroad monopolies, we have no universal reset button for society like You describe! How do we enact Your standards in modern society? We hold property, but are not tied to specific geography on the basis of our tribes unless we are Native Minnesotans. We are disconnected from the land, and from each other! Is it because there is so little forgiveness in our modern system based not on wealth, but debt?

That said, Merciful One, do not let us be vain towards the successful, or return shrewdness with the counter-judgment of punishment! Will You forgive Minnesota its bitterness towards Morgan and Hill, and their company? Will You forgive them their “drive to power”? Most cannot relate to the unchecked influence of men like Morgan and Hill, but perhaps they can relate in a smaller way. If we have the power to change everyday situations in our favor, will we use it? Or misuse it?

Father, will You forgive us when we look expectantly and only to our system for justice? We are vapors that dissipate in a day! You are the only unchangeable personality in the universe. You are self-content and not subject to bribery. Your integrity allows us to enter into justice if we are open to self-examination as well as other-examination!

*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!

**More flavor on Governor Van Sant? https://www.nga.org/cms/home/governors/past-governors-bios/page_minnesota/col2-content/main-content-list/title_van-sant_samuel.default.html

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19th Century, government, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, Native Americans, Politics, State Government

Lind Becomes Governor

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Jan 2, 1899 to Jan 7, 1901
John Lind takes office as the state’s 14th governor on January 2, 1899.

Lind, an outspoken political maverick, campaigned zealously for adoption of a more equitable tax burden, enlightened concern for the sick and poor, and direct elections of state officials. Although most of his efforts to change society failed, Lind paved the way for subsequent reform and Minnesota’s transition from an agrarian to an industrial society.*

Thank you for the struggles of John Lind. Thank you for all Minnesotans’ who have bucked at the limitations of the two-party system. Thanks for his heart that was tender to others that wrestled with the giants of their time, and usually lost.

Why this struggle? The people knew Minnesota had riches: excellent dairy pastures, productive farmland, timber, iron ore and minerals, thousands of lakes, and a waterway that crossed half a continent. What was there to complain about? Commodities are valuable if they can reach the markets that have need for such resources. What if the “middlemen” ate them alive with storage fees, transportation costs, and sales commissions? Or what if the laws of one’s business were written by giants for giants?

Lord, I don’t know many details of these Lind years, but I see this conflict as a worthy subject to acknowledge to You. Will you forgive our judgements of the land hunger of the giants of timber, iron, farmland speculators, and railroads that began on January 2, 1899 and still prevail? Will You also forgive the land hunger of Minnesotans’ that displaced the Anishinaabe (Chippewa, Objibwe)?

Anishinaabe Reservations
The seven Anishinaabe reservations include: Grand Portage located in the northeast corner of the state; Bois Forte located in extreme northern Minnesota; Red Lake located in extreme northern Minnesota west of Bois Forte; White Earth located in northwestern Minnesota; Leech Lake located in the north central portion of the state; Fond du Lac located in northeast Minnesota west of the city of Duluth; and Mille Lacs located in the central part of the state, south and east of Brainerd.
All seven Anishinaabe reservations in Minnesota were originally established by treaty and are considered separate and distinct nations by the United States government. In some cases, the tribe retained additional lands through an Executive Order of the President. Six of the seven reservations were allotted at the time of the passage of the General Allotment Act. The Red Lake Reservation is the only closed reservation in Minnesota, which means that the reservation was never allotted and the land continues to be held in common by all tribal members. Each Indian tribe began its relationship with the U.S. government as a sovereign power recognized as such in treaty and legislation. The Treaty of 1863 officially recognized Red Lake as separate and distinct with the signing of the Old Crossing Treaty of 1863. In this treaty, the Red Lake Nation ceded more than 11 million acres of the richest agricultural land in Minnesota in exchange for monetary compensation and a stipulation that the “President of the United States direct a certain sum of money to be applied to agricultural education and to such other beneficial purposes calculated to promote the prosperity and happiness of the Red Lake Indian.” The agreements of 1889 and the Agreement of 1904, Red Lake ceded another 2,256,152 acres and the Band was guaranteed that all benefits under existing treaties would not change. http://www.indianaffairs.state.mn.us/tribes.html

Will You forgive our claim to Your land also known as Minnesota? Will You forgive our claim to Your intellectual property: air, water, plants, minerals, animals, weather, day, night, and people? You have given enough for all! You let us play with Your building blocks! Let us be worthy builders!

Father, help us deal with our pain that drives our anger. You have said in Ecclesiastes that there is:
“A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; “

We often see anger as only negative, or as the expression of an emotion that separates us. Yet, it is the expression of anger that often lets others know that our boundaries have been crossed. There is an anger that is mad at separation.

Will You bless Governor Lind for expressing this kind of anger; the anger at injustice? Lind was known for having a temper. According to an article on the front page of the Moose Lake (Minnesota) Star on January 17, 1901: “Ex-governor John Lind after having freed himself from the duties of governor last Thursday walked down to the Dispatch office in St. Paul and administered to Editor Black a well-deserved licking. For a one armed man John Lind can make some telling blows once in a while.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Lind_(politician)

*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, Architecture, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, State Government

Capitol Construction 1898

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Alexander Ramsey, the 83-year-old first territorial governor of Minnesota, lays the cornerstone of the new state capitol. The building is completed after eight years of construction and a cost of $4.5 million. It is occupied in 1905.

The building has been designed by local-architect-made-good Cass Gilbert, who also laid out the U of M campus and will draw up tall buildings in New York City.*

Capitol buildings are symbols. They are designed for utility, but also to exude the authority and permanence of the state, the government, and the people they represent. Gilbert saw us as inheritor’s of Greek and Roman forms of representational government, and designed a capitol that reflected those influences.

It is easy to imagine that the farmers and loggers looked up and wondered, “What does all that marble have to do with lumber? The rotunda looks like a grain silo, but nothing is in it!?!” ‘Permanence’ to Gilbert may have looked like ‘opulence’ to citizens of the North Star state. Most were still recovering from the Panic of 1893.

“The Panic of 1893 was a serious economic depression in the United States that began in 1893.[1] Similar to the Panic of 1873, it was marked by the collapse of railroad overbuilding and shaky railroad financing, resulting in a series of bank failures. Compounding market overbuilding and the railroad bubble was a run on the gold supply. The Panic of ’93 was the worst economic depression the United States had ever experienced at the time.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panic_of_1893

In any regard, Lord, will You honor the heart of the architect Gilbert? Will You bless those Minnesotans’ who follow in his passion for designing our buildings and structures? Will You bless the workmen who provided their excellent labor and skill to create such a building?

Lord, will You forgive any judgments of the cost of the building during a time of economic struggle? Will You forgive the politicians’ their excesses and pride in their workplace? Like the silo analogy, will You fill the rotunda with Your substance and vision, and not just a grandiose view?

*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!

**Delve into the life of Cass Gilbert. http://www.cassgilbertsociety.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

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19th Century, Agriculture, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, State Government, Uncategorized

Rural Free Delivery 1896

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Rural Free Delivery brings the mail directly to Minnesota farms. Service develops slowly, but within five years, 134 routes are serving 67,000 people.

A 1900 U.S. postmaster general report shows that RFD increases correspondence, postal receipts, and the circulation of newspapers and periodical literature; it also stimulates road improvement.

There is a downside, however. Rural Free Delivery threatens some merchants and several small towns who are used to having farmers come in occasionally just to get their mail (making local post offices centers of social and political life). In the coming years RFD contributes to the closing of many fourth-class post offices and the disappearance of some small villages.*

The introduction of Rural Free Delivery in Minnesota is such a perfect example of how change, even well-intentioned, can wreak havoc on human relationships. We are capable of adjusting to change, but the period of adjustment is often messy. Here we see how the reasonable and good desire to receive mail directly becomes a point of contention perhaps because it breaks the flow of relationships.
Lord, will You forgive us for offenses taken during this period of change? Will You bless all those past, present, future who live on those 134 mail routes? Will You temper our perceived need for more information, served more securely, making us even more independent? Will You bless the mailmen, past, present, and future, and continue to make them a connecting point in Minnesota?
P.S. Will You also protect them from dogs, and protect the dogs from them?

*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!

**Check out “Behind the Badge” of Smithsonian National Postal Museum on RFD?
https://postalmuseum.si.edu/behindthebadge/rural-free-delivery.html

 

 

 

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19th Century, government, History, Intercession, Jesus, law, Minnesota, Politics, Prayer, Social Studies, State Government

Clough Becomes Governor

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Jan 31, 1895 to Jan 2, 1899
Lieutenant Governor D. M. (David Marston) Clough becomes the state’s 13th governor on Jan 31, 1895, when Governor Knute Nelson resigns to take a seat in the U.S. Senate.

Clough’s first administration was notable for the ratification of significant amendments to the state constitution, including those establishing a Board of Pardons, withdrawing the right of aliens to vote, and authorizing municipalities to frame “home rule” charters. During his second term, narrowly won in 1896, the legislature raises taxes on several private industries and enacts child-labor laws.*

Governor Clough seems to be a reformer,** and it is no wonder given the times he lived in. The Panic of 1893, started in European markets, and spread to the United States until 1897. It rocked everything, but Minnesotans probably felt it most in commodities: lumber, ore mining, farming, and the rails that delivered it all.

Changing the rules during the game is a delicate business, let alone the constitution of a State. The volume of changes Clough enacted suggests his reforms were supported by the people. But what is the spiritual weight of even one of these reforms?

Establishing a Board of Pardons may suggest a few motives. Minnesotans experienced the ‘power plays’ of economic interests; the farmers vs. the railroads, the individual landowner vs. the lumber barons, etc. Perhaps the Board of Pardons appealed to their sense of mercy to neighbors who experienced this type of injustice. Where there is favoritism under the law, hopelessness and bitterness are not far behind.

Here is where we appeal to You! As a Minnesotan, will You forgive us the anger and bitterness stemming from this era in the fields of lumber, mining, farming, and transportation? Will You release the justly offended parties from the weight of being right? Will You free the powerful from their offense of misusing their power to strip the rights, property, and humanity from those they opposed?

Eternal Father, one can still perceive the sadness of the Range, of Duluth Harbor, of small towns, farms, and Indian reservations where these conflicts arose. Will You change this atmosphere of the heart? Will You restore lost hope, property, and inheritances? Will You give favor to these specific peoples and geographic locations?

Will You bless the inheritance of Governor Clough, whether directly to his family of origin, or those who share his vision? Will You keep us from swinging to extremes? Will You help us stop the cycle of offense/counter offense, judgment/counter judgment?

*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!
**More on David Marston Clough? https://www.nga.org/cms/home/governors/past-governors-bios/page_minnesota/col2-content/main-content-list/title_clough_david.default.html
***An Inventory of His Gubernatorial Records at the Minnesota Historical Society
http://www2.mnhs.org/library/findaids/gov027.xml

 

 

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19th Century, education, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, Native Americans, State Government

Indian Schools 1893

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Indian children are forced to attend government schools. Children in communities without local schools are sent away to boarding schools. White educators hope still that separating children from their families will make it easier to teach them to reject Indian ways.

“I believe in immersing the Indians in our civilization, and when we get them under, holding them there until they are thoroughly soaked.”
-Richard Henry Pratt, head of the Carlisle Institute

“I must read from books instead of from Nature. I must learn of the birds and the animals and the trees from books instead of from daily contact with them. This was what the white man said I should do, and I could do nothing but obey. Again I would forget the language of my people and speak in the tongue of the school.”
-Way-quah-gishig was six years old when he was sent away to a boarding school in South Dakota and given the name John Rogers. During the next six years, he and his sisters were not able to see or write their family.*

Help me observe this event with you Holy Spirit. I invite Your reflections, insights, and direction as I write. Will You lead me in prayer?
As I wait, the question arose of requiring immersion education for Native American students. If immersion education was simply offered rather than required, wouldn’t that have been more consistent with our Constitutional principals, and with Your word? As Washington once said, “Government is not reason; it is not eloquence; it is force! Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.” If a student is placed in a servant-master relationship, where is the room for the joy of discovery? Can curiosity be born in an atmosphere of mandatory compliance?

Lord, will You forgive the offense of required immersion to the Native people of Minnesota? Will You forgive the offense of wanting to mold others into our image? Will You forgive this zeal to change others by force, rather than persuasion and real relationship? Will You forgive the impatience of this event? We separated children from their families instead of meeting them family to family?
Conversely, will You free Native Minnesotans’ from the temptation to hold onto this offense? American Indians were natural “homeschoolers” or “unschoolers”** during this era, will You forgive them their judgments’ against the State-defined modes of education? Will You remove this curse, and bring a blessing in its place? May we unlearn force, and learn to offer freedom of education to each other in this state! IHS

*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!
**Learn more about homeschooling and unschooling? http://www.homeschool.com/new/difstyles.asp#unschooling

***Peruse a brief history of U.S. government policies regarding the education of Native children? http://www.edweek.org/ew/projects/2013/native-american-education/history-of-american-indian-education.html

 

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