20th Century, Crime, government, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, Politics

“Shame of Minneapolis”

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Jan 1901 to Feb 1903
Dr. Albert Alonzo “Doc” Ames served four terms as mayor of Minneapolis. His fourth term began in January 1901 and ended with his resignation in August 1902 after a grand jury exposed the corruption in his administration.

In January 1903 McClure’s magazine published an article by nationally-known muckraking journalist Lincoln Steffens**** on the fight against corruption in Minneapolis. The story focused on Mayor Ames’ regime and how the work of the courageous grand jury led to his fall. He was convicted of bribery in February 1903.*

Also, 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 NIV**

Minneapolitans living in 1901-1903 may not have been “carried into exile” like the children of Abraham, but they likely felt that Justice abandoned them. What does one do, when their hometown becomes corrupt? Even more accurate, what response should the public have when their leadership targets them for abuse, and opens the doors of the city welcoming crime?

Mayor Ames’ actions lead to the conclusion that he was single-minded in his pursuit of control, and hungry for bribery. He made his brother Fred chief of police. He fired law-abiding police and replaced them with unqualified and criminally-minded officers. He released criminals from jail. He accepted and encouraged organized crime of all kinds in return for payment. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A._A._Ames

Lord, hear our prayer! Our forbearers failed to see the character of Mayor Ames, or those he appointed. Some of our citizens participated in activities that enabled corruption. Will You forgive these offenses?

Will You forgive the lust that welcomed and expanded prostitution in the city of Minneapolis? Will You forgive us our willingness to objectify women? Will You forgive us our impatience to find sexual oneness and satisfaction apart from a real relationship?

The “johns” have given themselves over to misogyny, and the prostitutes have given themselves to misandry in response. We have accepted money for the denigration of our bodies. We have divided our spirits with strangers. We have divided our minds by making judgements that it is fine to pay women for sexual abuse, and conversely, to accept sexual abuse in exchange for cash. Forgive us these misbeliefs that do not honor ourselves, others, or You. As Your child shown mercy for his own lust, I disinvite the misogyny and misandry welcomed into Minneapolis during Mayor Ames era, and invite Your Spirit to free us to accept ourselves as men and women, and so become able to love the other gender in the present and future.

Lord, we are also party to another form of misplaced affection; the love of money.
Gambling is the expectation of reward apart from work.*** In it, we participate in the self-injurious behaviors of excitement addiction and greed. Work informs our character with persistence, delayed gratification, and the reward that we produce or are part of a team that gives something of worth to society. We stunt our own growth by believing we should get something for nothing.

Mayor Ames opened our city to this form of greed. Will You forgive those who have loved reward apart from work both past and present? As Your son who has been shown mercy for his own hatred of work, I disinvite gambling from the city of Minneapolis. I invite Your Spirit into our labor. Let us receive the gifts of character in store for us! Let us be glad in how our work gives and serves and benefits others! Let the innovations of our work in Minnesota bring a better life to all humanity, and be a reflection of Your Mind and Muscle! Will You be our unfailing Justice?

*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!
**http://biblehub.net/search.php?q=jeremiah+29%3A7
***How does gambling affects the brain? https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2933850/
****An excellent article by Iric Nathanson about the man who brought Ames down; Mr. Lincoln Steffens. https://www.minnpost.com/politics-policy/2013/12/goodwin-s-bully-pulpit-spotlights-shame-minneapolis

 

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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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