Pillsbury, John Sargent (1827–1901)

In forty-six years as a Minnesotan, John Sargent Pillsbury helped establish what eventually became one of the world's largest flour-milling businesses, served three terms as governor, and contributed—generously and often anonymously—to numerous causes he deemed worthy.

Populism in Minnesota, 1868–1896

In the late nineteenth century, Minnesota was rife with political discontent. A national movement to support the interests of working people against elites took hold at a local level. Crusading figures like Ignatius Donnelly challenged the power of big business and wealthy tycoons. The movement, called populism, arose from the people's urge for reform. It shaped the young state's politics for close to three decades.

Republican National Convention, June 1892

Republicans from across the nation came to Minneapolis in June 1892 for secret meetings, public rallies and speeches, and their official national convention, which culminated in the nomination of then US President Benjamin Harrison as the party's presidential candidate.

Rockne, Anton Julius (1868–1950)

Minnesota State Senator Anton J. Rockne took pride in the nickname "Watchdog of the State Treasury." Yet as America's Great Depression deepened in 1932, he fought against programs for the poor and his opponents branded him "Commander-in-Chief of the Hunger Brigade."

Rolette, Joseph (1820–1871)

Joseph Rolette was a fur trader and politician during Minnesota's territorial period. A colorful character in his time, Rolette is remembered for the drastic action he took to assure that St. Paul would become Minnesota's state capital.

Rosing, Leonard August (1861–1909)

When Leonard August Rosing became chairman of the Minnesota Democratic Party in 1896, he had his work cut out for him: Republicans had controlled the governorship since before the Civil War. But Rosing was successful in unseating Republicans and getting Democrat John Lind elected governor in 1898.

Shoemaker, Francis H. (1889–1958)

Francis H. Shoemaker’s 1931–1932 journey from a Leavenworth prison cell to a seat in the U.S. Congress ranks among Minnesota’s most bizarre political odysseys. But little about Shoemaker surprised those following the meteoric career of the radical newspaper editor from Red Wing.

Sibley, Henry H. (1811–1891)

Henry Hastings Sibley occupied the stage of Minnesota history for fifty-six active years. He was the territory's first representative in Congress (1849–1853) and the state's first governor (1858–1860). In 1862 he led a volunteer army against the Dakota under Taoyateduta (Little Crow IV). After his victory at Wood Lake and his rescue of more than two hundred white prisoners, he was made a brigadier general in the Union Army.

Stageberg, Susie Williamson (1877–1961)

Susie Williamson Stageberg is known as the "Mother of the Farmer-Labor Party." The Red Wing activist spent a lifetime fighting for unpopular political and social causes. She strongly opposed the merger of the Democratic and Farmer-Labor Parties in the 1940s.

The 1962 Gubernatorial Election Recount

An unusually close election in 1962 led to a recount in the race between Minnesota Governor Elmer L. Andersen and his challenger, Lieutenant Governor Karl F. Rolvaag. The outcome remained in doubt for more than four months as thousands of ballots were recounted all across the state.

The Financial Panic of 1857

Minnesota Territory experienced a boom period starting in 1855. Industry flourished region-wide and companies amassed incredible wealth. The Financial Panic of 1857 brought the good times to a halt and interrupted the growth of the fledgling state.

The Grand Army of the Republic in Minnesota

The Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) was a fraternal organization which existed from 1866 to 1956. It was composed of veterans of the Union Army, United States Navy, Marines, and Revenue Cutter Service who served in the American Civil War. The organization allowed veterans to communicate with one another and plan reunions. At its peak in 1890 it was a powerful organization, supporting the rights of veterans and primarily Republican politicians.

The Ho-Chunk and Blue Earth, 1855–1863

In 1855 a federal treaty moved the Ho-Chunk (Winnebago) people from their reservation near Long Prairie to a site along the Blue Earth River. The Ho-Chunk farmed the area's rich soil with some success, but drew the hostility of white neighbors who wanted the land for themselves. Though they did not participate in the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 they were exiled from Minnesota during the conflict's aftermath.

The Ho-Chunk and Long Prairie, 1846–1855

In 1848 the U.S. government removed the Ho-Chunk (Winnebago) from their reservation in the northeastern part of Iowa to Long Prairie in Minnesota Territory. The Ho-Chunk found the land at Long Prairie a poor choice to meet their needs as farmers. In 1855 they were moved again, this time to a reservation in southern Minnesota.

The Minnesota and Northwestern Railroad Land Grant Scandal of 1854

In 1854 legislators in St. Paul requested a grant from the federal government to create a rail line across Minnesota Territory. Public outcry led to scandal and the repeal of the territory's first land grant bill.

The Minnesota Constitutional Convention of 1857

In 1857 elected delegates met in St. Paul to draft a state constitution so that Minnesota could officially join the Union. Due to a bitter rivalry, Democrats and Republicans refused to meet jointly until near the end of the convention. Finally, a Compromise Committee with five members from each group proposed language that both sides accepted. Yet they refused to sign the same document. As a result, Minnesota has two copies of its constitution: one Democratic and one Republican.

The Nonpartisan League

Exploited by powerful corporate and political interests in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Midwestern farmers banded together in the early twentieth century to fight for their political and economic rights. Farmers formed the Nonpartisan League (NPL) and wrote a significant chapter of Minnesota's progressive era history.

The Progressive Era in Minnesota, 1899–1920

The growth of cities and industry in the late nineteenth century brought sweeping changes to American society. Minneapolis and Saint Paul grew rapidly. Urban labor provided new opportunities for Minnesotans as well as new challenges. Business practices and labor rights became topics of heated debate. The Progressive movement spread amid growing concerns about the place of ordinary Americans in relation to the new urban landscape.

Treaty of La Pointe, 1854

The second Treaty of La Pointe (1854) ceded most Ojibwe land on the northern and western shores of Lake Superior to the U.S. government. It also established the Grand Portage and Fond du Lac reservations. In exchange, the Ojibwe received annual payments and a guarantee that they could continue to hunt and fish throughout this territory.

Treaty of Mendota

The Treaty of Mendota was signed between the Mdewakanton and Wahpekute bands of the Dakota and the United States Government in 1851. By signing this treaty and the Treaty of Traverse des Sioux the same year, the Dakota transferred ownership of their lands to the United States. The Treaties of 1851 opened millions of acres to white settlement. For the Dakota, the treaties represented a step towards the loss of their homeland, and the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862.

Wahl, Rosalie (1924–2013)

Rosalie Wahl was a pioneering figure in Minnesota law during the second half of the twentieth century. She became the state's first female Supreme Court justice at a time when there were no women on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Waite, Edward Foote (1860–1958)

Edward Foote Waite was a distinguished Minneapolis judge and community leader. His involvement in public affairs spanned much of the twentieth century.

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