In 1915, western farmers mounted one of the most significant challenges to party politics America has seen: the Nonpartisan League, which sought to empower citizens and restrain corporate influence. Before its collapse in the 1920s, the League counted more than 250,000 paying members, spread to thirteen states and two Canadian provinces, controlled North Dakota’s state government, and birthed new farmer-labor alliances. Yet today it is all but forgotten, neglected even by scholars.
Lansing's book offers a new look at the Nonpartisan League. He argues that the story of the League is an instructive example of how popular movements can create lasting change. Lansing’s book shows how the League was a response to economic inequity that has the potential to inform contemporary movements.
Author Michael J. Lansing is an Associate Professor of History at Augsburg College in Minneapolis, MN. Pioneer Public TV and the Chippewa County Historical Society (CCHS) are sponsoring his visit to the area to convene local history buffs who can talk with Lansing about how his research on the Nonpartisan League connects with what we know about western Minnesota’s long history as a focal point of farmer-led activism. Local primary source materials from the CCHS archives about the Chippewa County Farmers Alliance, the very first farmer owned elevators in the nation, the rise of rural electric cooperatives, the Farmers’ Holiday Association, and the Farmer Labor Association will also be discussed.
For more information on this event, please contact Patrick Moore, Communications Director at Pioneer Public Television, 320-289-2919 or firstname.lastname@example.org.