January 31, 1895 to January 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?
- *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