Nonpartisan League, National
NONPARTISAN LEAGUE, NATIONAL
NONPARTISAN LEAGUE, NATIONAL. First organized in 1915 in North Dakota by Arthur C. Townley and the leaders of the Socialist and Equity Parties, the Nonpartisan League (also known as the Farmers' Non-partisan League and, later, the National Nonpartisan League) was the outcome of a grassroots farmers' revolt against monopolistic control of the wheat trade by financial speculators and government officials at the expense of wheat farmers. The original demands of this alliance of wheat farmers included the establishment of state-owned elevators, grain mills, and packing plants; state-provided hail insurance and rural tax credits; as well as the reform of state tax laws. Townley, along with colleagues William Lemke and William Langer, successfully and rapidly created a united politicized group of farmers and sympathizers, which he then used to endorse political candidates of either party (thus, the word "nonpartisan" in the league's name) who pledged to improve the working and living conditions of the farmers by supporting their agenda.
The North Dakota gubernatorial election of 1916 brought the league's first victory with the election of Republican Lynn J. Frazier, a dirt farmer who captured nearly 80 percent of the vote. Within four years, because of the league's aggressive organizing, the state legislature had effectively adopted the league's entire slate of reform measures within a far-reaching and legally mandated socioeconomic program. This program provided, among other things, production incentives by taxing unused farmland and exempting capital improvements on farmland, increased funding for rural education, established a shorter (nine-hour) work day for women, and created the Bank of North Dakota, a state-owned bank that made capital improvement loans to farmers. Although the league was not an established political party like the Republican or Democratic Parties, it nevertheless enjoyed widespread influence and power in local elections and legislative matters.
Membership fees created significant financial resources that enabled the league to expand throughout North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Montana, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon. League funds were used to finance various legal challenges, brought for the purpose of strengthening the economic and political standing of member farmers. Strong farmer-labor coalitions emerged, highlighting issues unique to each market and culminating in favorable election results across the region.
Various political, economic, and social aftereffects of World War I, including the economic depression and a national unease with socialist concepts, lead to diminished coffers among the league's membership and eventually crippled its political effectiveness. By 1920 political conservatism was on the rise, further eroding the league's left-leaning political base. For the next thirty years, increasing political impotence, mismanagement, and financial scandal haunted the league, until it became affiliated with the Democratic Party in 1956, obscuring its original characteristics.
See alsoAgrarianism .
"Nonpartisan League, National." Dictionary of American History. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 22, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/nonpartisan-league-national
"Nonpartisan League, National." Dictionary of American History. . Retrieved October 22, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/nonpartisan-league-national
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.