Meet Your New Governor - Fred G. Aandahl: A Profile

The Aandahl family came from the small Norwegian town of Aandahlsnes. In 1881 Jorgen, the eldest son of Soren and Elene, and his wife, Martine, sailed for America with their six children and homesteaded in Svea Township in Barnes County. Their son, Soren, whose name was anglicized to Sam, and his wife, Mamie, were well-educated and ambitious with high standards for themselves and their two sons, Fred (b. 1897) and Sam (b. 1902). The Aandahls farmed 960 acres. Their impressive home, which had three marble fireplaces, five bedrooms, and indoor plumbing, reflected their prosperity.

After high school in Litchville, Fred attended the University of North Dakota and in 1921 graduated with a B.A. in liberal arts. After graduation he returned to the farm and taught country school from 1922 to 1927. The deaths of his father in 1922 and his mother in 1923 forced Fred to become the head of family and farm. His father’s will divided the farm between Fred and Sam, but Fred bought out Sam’s interest.

Governor Fred G. Aandahl.

During the difficult 1930s, Aandahl played key roles in politics and New Deal farm programs. In 1930 he defeated a twelve-year Langer-League incumbent for the North Dakota Senate. Two years later he lost in a recall election. In 1938 he narrowly regained his senate seat. In the interim he became active in the implementation of the New Deal’s Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA) that was designed to assist farmers through the depression. He became the radio voice of AAA and traveled extensively throughout the state explaining the program.

He considered himself to be a regular Republican who opposed William Langer and what had become Langer’s Nonpartisan League. He worked closely with fellow farmer Milton R. Young in the 1943 creation of the Republican Organizing Committee to oppose Langer’s League. He possessed a keen sense of North Dakota’s political world. “I soon discovered that the honest progressives that originally organized the Nonpartisan League had been forced out by Langer and his henchmen,” he told The North Star Dakotan. He understood that a coalition of Democrats, independents, and progressive Republicans had formed in the legislature. When those forces came together in the Republican Organizing Committee, Aandahl was the logical choice to run for the governorship. In 1944 he won that job.

 

By Dr. D. Jerome Tweton

Source

Originally published as The North Star Dakotan student newspaper, written by Dr. D. Jerome Tweton and supported by the North Dakota Humanities Council.

Grade Level

3-4, 8

Subject Matter

Social Studies

North Star Dakotan:

Journals and Art Work: The Indian People, The Trade, and The Land

The Indian People

The Purchase and Exploration of Louisiana

The Fur Trade

Dakota Territory

The Military Frontier

The Reservation System

George Armstrong Custer and the Battle of the Little Bighorn

The Great Dakota Boom, 1878-1890

Reservation Troubles, 1886-1890

The Making of a State and a Constitution

The North Dakota Economy, 1890-1915

Life on the Indian Reservations

The North Dakota National Guard and the Philippines

North Dakota, The Great War and After

The Nonpartisan League's Rise to Power

The Nonpartisan League in Power

The Nonpartisan League's Decline

The 1920s

1930s: North Dakota's Economic and Political Climate

The New Deal in North Dakota

The Road to World War II

North Dakota and American Society

North Dakota Optimism and Economic Developments

North Dakota and Political Change