Political Pulse: The 1930s

LANGER ACTS TO SAVE FARMERS
Bismarck
March 4, 1933

Governor Langer has wasted no time in attacking the depression. By executive order he has declared a moratorium on farm foreclosures. He vows that he will use the National Guard to protect farmers from moneylenders who try to take back farms because of mortgage nonpayment.

LANGER ISSUES EMBARGO
Bismarck
November 1, 1933

The governor has taken bold, and some say illegal, action to raise the price of wheat. By executive order he has forbidden the shipment of wheat out of North Dakota, believing that such action will raise wheat prices. So far wheat prices have risen a few cents so the embargo seems to be working.

FARM HOLIDAY ASSOCIATION ORGANIZES
Bismarck
December 1, 1933

The North Dakota Farm Holiday Association, headed by Usher L. Burdick, has been very active. It is part of a national movement that believes that farmers should strike, holding farm products off the market until prices rise. In North Dakota it supports the actions of Governor Langer and lobbies the legislature for laws that will help farmers.

LANGER GUILTY, OFF TO PRISON?
Bismarck
June 17, 1934

Governor Langer has been found guilty of misuse of federal funds after a month-long trial. He has been sentenced to 18 months in a federal penitentiary and fined $10,000.

Hundreds of people protested the removal of Governor Langer. Courtesy of the State Historical Society of North Dakota.

CHAOS! FOUR GOVERNORS IN SEVEN MONTHS
Bismarck
February 2, 1934

The last seven months have seen more political maneuvering than most states ever see. On July 19, 1933, the Supreme Court removed Langer from office because he was a convicted felon. Lieutenant Governor Ole Olson then became governor. In the November 1934 election Democrat Thomas H. Moodie beat Lydia Langer, the former governor’s wife, for the governorship. On February 2, 1935, the Supreme Court removed Governor Moodie from office when it was discovered by Langer supporters that Moodie, who had been a writer for a Minneapolis newspaper, had not met the five-year requirement for holding office. Lieutenant Governor Walter Welford then became governor. Four governors in seven months!

Governor Walter Welford in his office. Courtesy of North Dakota Institute for Regional Studies.

Governor Thomas Moodie. Courtesy of North Dakota Institute for Regional Studies.

Ole Olson is sworn in as governor. Courtesy of North Dakota Institute for Regional Studies.

LANGER IS BACK!
Bismarck
November 8, 1936

William Langer has just been elected governor for a second time. A federal court reversed his 1934 conviction, and he was found not guilty in three subsequent trials for conspiracy and perjury during 1935. A political foe has commented: “Langer has more lives than a cat.”

LANGER ACTIONS RAISE GRAIN PRICES
Grand Forks
July 23, 1937

Governor Langer has ordered the State Mill to pay farmers 35 cents a bushel above market for their wheat. Private grain-buying companies immediately met the higher price. Langer claims he made North Dakota farmers an extra $12 million.

DEMOCRAT MOSES ENDS LANGER’S GRIP
Bismarck
November 10, 1938

Anti-Langer Republicans joined with Democrats to elect Democrat John Moses of Hazen as governor, breaking the NPL’s and Langer’s hold on state government. Langer’s attempt to unseat U.S. Senator Gerald P. Nye also failed. Langer is presently out of work.

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, 7-12

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