Political Pulse: The 1930s
LANGER ACTS TO SAVE FARMERS
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
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
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?
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.
CHAOS! FOUR GOVERNORS IN SEVEN MONTHS
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!
LANGER IS BACK!
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
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
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
Originally published as The North Star Dakotan student newspaper, written by Dr. D. Jerome Tweton and supported by the North Dakota Humanities Council.