Insurgent Democracy: The Nonpartisan League In North American Politics

Paperback | November 8, 2016

byMichael J. Lansing

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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 over 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.

Michael J. Lansing aims to change that. Insurgent Democracy offers a new look at the Nonpartisan League and a new way to understand its rise and fall in the United States and Canada. Lansing argues that, rather than a spasm of populist rage that inevitably burned itself out, the story of the League is in fact an instructive example of how popular movements can create lasting change. Depicting the League as a transnational response to economic inequity, Lansing not only resurrects its story of citizen activism, but also allows us to see its potential to inform contemporary movements.

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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 over 250,000 paying members, spread to thirteen states and two Canadian provinces, co...

Michael J. Lansing is associate professor of history at Augsburg College in Minneapolis.

other books by Michael J. Lansing

The American West: A Concise History
The American West: A Concise History

Paperback|Aug 6 2007

$53.99

Format:PaperbackDimensions:392 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.1 inPublished:November 8, 2016Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022643477X

ISBN - 13:9780226434773

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Prologue

1 Birth
2 Expansion
3 Opposition
4 Power
5 Reverses
6 Legacies

Epilogue

Acknowledgments
Notes
Index

Editorial Reviews

“Lansing casts a keen eye on a populist movement that briefly unsettled politics on the western plains, providing a blueprint for citizen agency in a corporate age. . . . Prodigiously researched and passionately argued, Insurgent Democracy could hardly be more relevant to the current political conversation. In a presidential election year in which populist messages have engaged millions of voters in both major parties, a turn to history offers both cautionary notes and inspiration, depending on one’s perspective. The way things are is not always the way things must be. Surely an idealist’s mantra, it may also offer a road map to something better.”