20th Century, History, Minnesota, State Government, Uncategorized

Stassen Becomes Governor

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Jan 2, 1939
Harold E. Stassen takes office as the state’s 25th governor. At the age of 31, Stassen was the youngest governor in the state’s history. He goes on to be re-elected governor in 1940 and again in 1942. Four months into his third term Stassen resigns and enlists in the Navy (April 27, 1943). *

Governor Stassen was raised as a Republican in Saint Paul, Minnesota in the early 20th century. This city had a bifurcated population of laborers from predominantly Catholic regions of Europe, and business owners often with a Protestant work ethic. Perhaps this dichotomy helps explain why he had empathy for laborers, and had awareness of crime and civic corruption? He gained his law degree at the University of Minnesota graduating in 1929, and was ready to battle injustice. **

PamphletFrontPageProgressivePartyPlatform1912

Soon thereafter, he found a home in the Progressive political platform of Theodore Roosevelt founded ca. 1912. For clarity’s sake, the Progressive Party was founded:

“To destroy this invisible Government, to dissolve the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship of the day.” ***

‘To that end, the platform called for:
Strict limits and disclosure requirements on political campaign contributions
Registration of lobbyists
Recording and publication of Congressional committee proceedings

In the social sphere, the platform called for:
A national health service to include all existing government medical agencies.
Social insurance, to provide for the elderly, the unemployed, and the disabled
Limited the ability of judges to order injunctions to limit labor strikes.
A minimum wage law for women
An eight-hour workday
A federal securities commission
Farm relief
Workers’ compensation for work-related injuries
An inheritance tax
The political reforms proposed included:
Women’s suffrage
Direct election of Senators
Primary elections for state and federal nominations
Easier amending of the United States Constitution

The platform also urged states to adopt measures for “direct democracy”, including:
The recall election (citizens may remove an elected official before the end of his term)
The referendum (citizens may decide on a law by popular vote)
The initiative (citizens may propose a law by petition and enact it by popular vote)
Judicial recall (when a court declares a law unconstitutional, the citizens may override that ruling by popular vote)’**** Ibid.

Stassen adapted and simplified this platform to suit the specific needs of Minnesota. Again, his overarching goal was to rid the Minnesota’s government of corruption and cronyism. His secondary goals were to: reform all positions of civil service, create better relationships with labor, provide for the public’s welfare, and restructure the government to make it work more efficiently.

Shall we pray? G-d of All Justice, we remember gratefully that You are perfect in authority, unchangeable, and incorruptible! What comfort to know that You offer wisdom and discernment so freely to those who humbly bow and ask! We remember today that our Messiah laid down his life, spilling His blood to fulfill the Abrahamic Covenant, and rising again to conclusively prove that He is “King of Kings, and Lord of Lords”!

We recognize, along with Governor Stassen, that we have broken faith with You in the acceptance of corruption and cronyism of his era. We have bent the laws of Minnesota for our gain, and have inwardly failed to love You or Your Laws. Will You forgive us our enticement to bow to the idols of nepotism, parti pris, and partisanship? We have seen evils, and have agreed with our enemy to “look the other way” and “just play ball”! Have mercy.

Will You bless and keep the heritage of Harold Stassen? Will You give us civic leaders who are immune to the diseases of lobbyists? Will You give us lobbyists who love Your laws? Will You give grace to our leaders of government, finance, business, and industries? Though they have the power to force the changes of laws they desire, may they foster changes in law within the framework of persuasive wisdom and humility. May we progress towards chesed!

* 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://www.mnopedia.org/person/stassen-harold-1907-2001
*** Patricia OToole (June 25, 2006). “”The War of 1912,” Time in partnership with CNN, Jun. 25, 2006″. Time.com. Retrieved January 6, 2012.
**** Ibid. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Progressive_Party_(United_States,_1912)

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20th Century, Democrat, Faith, Governors, History, Intercession, Judgment & Counter-Judgment Cycle, Leadership, Minnesota, omnipresent history, Politics, Prayer, Social Studies, State Government

Governor Hammond Dies in Office 1915

Unknown

December 30, 1915

“Governor Winfield S. Hammond dies only eight months after taking office, when he suffered ptomaine poisoning on a trip south and died of a stroke in a little bayou town in Louisiana.” *

Governor Hammond was “a staunch Democrat in Republican community”, namely, the city of Mankato and Watonwan County. His ambitions politically were to minimize the bureaucracy of our state government, and eliminate waste. He achieved his political office with bipartisan support. **

What draws me to his story today is that he lived as a political minority in his hometown, yet achieved the highest post of leadership in the state. Politics, both in his era and the present, is more often a game of division than multiplication. The effects of partisanship, past and present, often turns friend against friend, spouse against spouse, and family against family.

What is Your wisdom for us in this, King of Kings? Each day, each moment, we are offered choice by You; will we make relationship, or break relationship? Daily You offer us this insight:

“Hear, O Israel, the Lord our G-d, the Lord is One.” Deuteronomy 6:4***

On the personal level, we can have a thriving connection with someone who disagrees with us. We often are married to such a person, work daily with them, or live nearby. We know that person so well, and love them, so we choose to agree to disagree in select areas for the sake of relationship.

Yet when it comes to politics, and its seasons of heated rhetoric, we allow our disagreements over knowledge to supersede our relational “knowing”. Why is this? Why does information trump partnership?

Eternal Father, have mercy on this condition, both in Hammond’s era and the present. We have asserted our superior knowledge against our resolve to continue relating in the context of relationships. We have broken faith with each other over the letters “D” or “R”.

Will You have mercy on on us? Will You help us to “love our enemies”? Will You especially give us grace for our beloved enemies; members of our own household whom we cannot reach agreement?

We offer thanks for Governor Hammond, and his propensity to listen and unite with his opponents. Will You bless him, his progeny, and those who work and especially listen to those across the aisle? Will You fulfill his incomplete visions to create a responsive system of leadership in Minnesota? Will You overcome the acceptance of faction and partisanship as a necessity for the civic leadership of our society? Will You replace knowledge with knowing, and make us one people? Amen!

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

**https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winfield_Scott_Hammond

***http://biblehub.com/deuteronomy/6-4.htm

 

 

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19th Century, abolition, African American, History, Indian, Men, Minnesota, Native Americans, News, women

Abolitionist Newspaper 1857

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1857
“Jane Grey Swisshelm, an outspoken critic of slavery and unequal treatment of women, moves to Minnesota in 1857 and publishes the St. Cloud Visiter newspaper. Mobs twice destroy her printing office, but she continues her courageous crusade for equal rights with the “St. Cloud Visiter” later renamed the “St. Cloud Democrat.” *

Jane G. Swisshelm was a pioneer in all senses of the word: in travel, in her passionate writings, and inwardly. She saw observed the cruelty of slavery when she lived in Kentucky. She lost her mother in Pennsylvania, and shortly afterwards, her husband lost his business. She moved to the Midwest to start over, joining her sister nearby. **

Already a established as a strong voice for abolition during her decade in Pittsburgh, she became the editor of a newspaper named the “St.Cloud Visiter”. Though owned by a Democrat, (who in those days were not usually abolitionists), she insisted on representing the paper as such. In effect, she offended local Democratic sensibilities resulting in the destruction of the “Visiter’s” offices and printing presses. ***

In the following decade, she aimed her pen at the Dakota Nation of Minnesota. Originally a supporter of Native Americans, the Dakota War of 1862 and their atrocities of unprovoked attacks on their neighbors changed her mind. Incensed by Native attacks, she even lobbied the Federal Government that more strident measures be taken against them. ***

Today, we thank You for voice of Jane Swisshelm, and her commitment to vigorously and forthrightly speak her mind. Her story is a cautionary tale that no individual, tribe, or nation gets it right all the time. Irregardless of passion, we all have an incomplete picture of the truth.

American politics of her day may shock modern ears; Republicans led the charge in the abolition of slavery, and the vast majority of slave states held to Democratic politics. Will You forgive us our over-identification with partisan politics in this era, and our failure to unite to oppose the evils of slavery? Will You forgive us our sins of partisan rhetoric, and more specifically to Swisshelm where her words unnecessarily broke relationship with our Southern brothers and sisters?

Next, we fail to understand much of the context of her era, and may draw some wrong conclusions from the women’s rights movement. Certainly, some 19th Century women suffered harsh abuses at the hands of men, often without hopes for a legal redress of their grievances. (We praise You that most of these legal issues are corrected, and that American women have known exceptionally high-status and equality when viewed through the lens of human history.)

Yet, our preset-day perspective may cause us to miss the ways that 19th Century male-female relationships were strong. Children trusted that their fathers’ were committed to provide for them. Wives trusted that their husbands’ love meant shelter and protection. Families busy with survival did not have lots of time to deal with legal or political issues, and often for them, it made sense to trust dad with that role.

Jesus, thanks that You have made us to be free. Will You forgive the city of St. Cloud and Minnesota any infringement of the freedom of Jane Swisshelm? Will You free us from her sinful judgment’s against those she opposed; broadbrushing all men, those who disagreed with her method of abolition, and promoting punishment against the Dakota? Thank You that Minnesota has raised awareness of the status of women and those in bondage through her voice! Thank You that even her words of judgment against the actions of a few hundred Dakota, as harsh as they may be, record the specifics of broken relationships. Will You enter into these rifts, bring humility, and restore to us a place in Your Land-Clear-Blue-Waters? Amen.

http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
** Swisshelm, Jane Grey. Half a Century. Chicago: Jansen, McClurg, and Company, 1880.
*** Webster, Eric W. “Swisshelm, Jane Grey (1815–1884)”. Internet. https://www.mnopedia.org/person/swisshelm-jane-grey-1815-1884

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