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Anderson, Helen Eugenie Moore (1909–1997)

Eugenie Moore Anderson emerged as a trailblazer for American women in international diplomacy during the post-World War II era. In 1949 she became the first American woman to hold the rank of ambassador.

Black Suffrage in Minnesota, 1868

From their state's admission to the Union until the mid-1860s, a majority of Minnesotans advocated the abolition of slavery in the South. Black suffrage, however, did not enjoy the same support. Minnesota's black citizens paid taxes, fought in wars, and fostered their communities. But they could not vote, hold political office, or serve on juries. This continued until 1868 when an amendment to the state's constitution approved suffrage for all non-white men.

Citizens League

Since 1952, the Citizens League has had a major impact on public policies in Minnesota. A group of civic leaders had the idea of inviting leaders from different parts of the community to the table to solve big policy issues. This meant bringing together lawmakers, union leaders, heads of Minnesota companies, and experts from universities and industries. As a group, these experts and leaders would study an issue and then write a research paper they could all agree on. Then they would do the political work required to make their conclusions a reality.

Clough, David Marston (D.M.), (1846–1924)

What David Marston (D.M.) Clough lacked in education and polish he made up for in common sense and drive, serving as Minnesota's thirteenth governor during his rise from lumberman to lumber baron.

Donnelly, Ignatius (1831–1901)

Ignatius Donnelly was the most widely known Minnesotan of the nineteenth century. As a writer, orator, and social thinker, he enjoyed fame in the U.S. and overseas. As a politician he was the nation's most articulate spokesman for Midwestern populism. Though the highest office he held was that of U.S. congressman, he shaped Minnesota politics for more than thirty years.

Dred and Harriet Scott in Minnesota

African Americans Dred Scott and Harriet Robinson Scott lived at Fort Snelling in the 1830s as enslaved people. Both the Northwest Ordinance (1787) and the Missouri Compromise (1820) prohibited slavery in the area, but slavery existed there even so. In the 1840s the Scotts sued for their freedom, arguing that having lived in “free territory” made them free. The 1857 Supreme Court decision that grew out of their suit moved the U.S. closer to civil war.

Eberhart, Adolph Olson (1870–1944)

Seventeenth Minnesota governor Adolph Olson (A.O.) Eberhart lived the classic American story of an immigrant who achieved success through hard work and ability. He graduated at the top of his class at Gustavus Adolphus College and was the youngest state senator in the 33rd legislative session.

Election of Mee Moua to the Minnesota Senate, 2002

In a special state Senate election held in January of 2002, Mee Moua became the first Asian woman chosen to serve in the Minnesota Legislature and the first Hmong American elected to any state legislature. Her win in St. Paul’s District 67 made national news and had lasting political and cultural impacts on the Hmong community.

Eliza Winston Court Case, 1860

On August 21, 1860, enslaved African American Eliza Winston was freed from her Mississippi slaveholder in a Minneapolis court. After being granted legal freedom, however, Winston faced white mob violence and was forced to leave the area. The event showed that although slavery was illegal in Minnesota, many white Minnesotans supported the practice when it economically benefited them.

Execution of Ann Bilansky, 1860

Ann Bilansky was the only woman executed by the action of Minnesota courts. She died in 1860, but doubts about her guilt remain alive.

Execution of William Williams, 1906

The botched execution of William Williams was the last in Minnesota. After newspapers broke state law to report on the event, public opinion turned firmly against the death penalty, and it was repealed in 1911.

Farmers' Alliance in Minnesota

The Farmers' Alliance in Minnesota thrived from 1886 to 1892. During this time, the organization achieved the most progress toward its political goals in the state. These included greater regulation of the railroad industry as it impacted the wheat market, elimination of irregularities in the grading of wheat, and minimization or elimination of the middleman in the wheat trade.

Farmers' Holiday Association in Minnesota

The Farmers' Holiday Association was formed in 1932. The Midwestern organization successfully fought against farm foreclosures with novel strategies like penny auctions, but unsuccessfully lobbied Congress for a federal system that would pay farmers for their crops based on the cost of production.

Fort Snelling in the Expansionist Era, 1819–1858

The U.S. Army built Fort Snelling between 1820 and 1825 to protect American interests in the fur trade. It tasked the fort’s troops with deterring advances by the British in Canada, enforcing boundaries between the region’s American Indian nations, and preventing Euro-American immigrants from intruding on American Indian land. In these early years and until its temporary closure in 1858, Fort Snelling was a place where diverse people interacted and shaped the future state of Minnesota.

Goodhue County Loyalty Trials of 1918

Speaking out against U.S. involvement in World War I had its hazards for Minnesota citizens. In Goodhue County such talk resulted in imprisonment.

Johnson, John Albert (1861–1909)

John Albert Johnson was Minnesota's first governor born in the state, its first governor to serve a full term in the current State Capitol, and its first governor to die in office, making him one of the state's most notable leaders.

Kellogg, Frank Billings (1856–1937)

Trustbuster, Senator, Secretary of State, Nobel Laureate, and World Court judge, Frank Kellogg rose from a small farm in Olmsted County to being the highest-ranking diplomat in the United States. He is remembered as one of the authors of the 1928 Pact of Paris, a multi-lateral treaty that renounced aggressive war as a matter of national policy.

Lind, John (1854–1930)

"Reform!" was the rallying cry of late nineteenth-century America, and John Lind was in the vanguard. His election as the fourteenth governor of Minnesota and the first non-Republican governor of the state in decades heralded a new progressive era.

Maas, Melvin (1898–1964)

Though he lived in a Democratic city and a Democratic political era—the Great Depression and World War II—the conservative Republican Melvin Maas represented St. Paul in Congress from 1927 to 1945, with one short interruption. He also received two World War II combat decorations, was awarded a Carnegie Hero Fund medal, and served the public for two decades after leaving politics.

Merriam, William Rush (1849–1931)

Well-connected socially and politically, William Rush Merriam rose through the legislative ranks to become the eleventh governor of Minnesota by age thirty-nine. In 1899, President William McKinley appointed him director of the twelfth national census.

Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid

On April 15, 1913, John Benson opened a Minneapolis law office to offer legal help to the poor. By 2013, the office had morphed into Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid. It has served hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans.

Minnesota Commission of Public Safety

The Minnesota Commission of Public Safety (MCPS) was a watchdog group created in 1917. Its purpose was to mobilize the state's resources during World War I. During a two-year reign its members enacted policies intended to protect the state from foreign threats. They also used broad political power and a sweeping definition of disloyalty to thwart those who disagreed with them.

Minnesota Home Guard

When the Minnesota National Guard was federalized in the spring of 1917, the state was left without any military organization. To defend the state’s resources, the Minnesota Commission of Public Safety (MCPS) created the Minnesota Home Guard. The Home Guard existed for the duration of World War I. Units performed civilian and military duties.

Minnesota State Boundaries

Minnesota's boundaries were established by treaties between the U.S. and Great Britain and the formation of the states of Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota.

Minnesota Woman Suffrage Association

From 1881 to 1920, the Minnesota Woman Suffrage Association (MWSA) struggled to secure women's right to vote. Its members organized marches, wrote petitions and letters, gathered signatures, gave speeches, and published pamphlets and broadsheets to force the Minnesota Legislature to recognize their right to vote. Due to their efforts, the Legislature approved the Nineteenth Amendment in 1919.

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