Nelson, Knute, 1843-1923

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1843-02-02
Death 1923-04-28
English

Biographical notes:

Knute Nelson was born in Vosse Elven, Norway, on February 2, 1843. In 1849 he and his widowed mother emigrated to the United States, settling first in Chicago (1849-1850), then in Dane County, Wisconsin, where he enlisted in the Fourth Wisconsin Cavalry Regiment (1861-1864) during the Civil War. Following the war he was graduated from the Albion Academy and studied law in a Madison, Wisconsin, law office, being admitted to the bar in 1867 and then serving as a representative in the Wisconsin assembly (1868-1869).

In 1871 he moved with his family to Alexandria, Minnesota, where he practiced law while farming a homestead tract. He served as Douglas County attorney (1872-1974), Minnesota state senator (1875-1878), presidential elector (1880), University of Minnesota regent (1882-1893), and fifth district representative to Congress (1883-1889). He was elected governor of Minnesota in 1892 and 1894, which post he resigned in 1895 to run successfully for the United States Senate, where he remained until 1923. Nelson was chairman of the Senate judiciary committee and the senate committee on public lands, and was active on the commerce and Indian affairs committees. His most notable legislative measures included the Nelson Bankruptcy Act (1898) and the act creating the Department of Commerce and Labor (1902), and he was also active in the establishment of the Interstate Commerce Commission. Nelson also supported a low tariff, a federal income tax, Prohibition, the Sherman Act, and the League of Nations. He died on April 28, 1923, during his fifth senatorial term.

The above information was taken from the following sources: Dictionary of American Biography, vol. XIII (1934); Who Was Who in America, vol. I (1968); Minnesota Biographies (1912), Book of Minnesotans (1907), Minnesota Historical Society Collections, vol. XIII (August 1908).

From the guide to the Knute Nelson papers., 1861-1924., (Minnesota Historical Society)

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Subjects:

  • Rural free delivery
  • Patronage, Political--Minnesota
  • Reciprocity (Commerce)--Public opinion
  • Rural free delivery--United States
  • Irish Americans--Ethnic identity
  • German Americans--Minnesota--Public opinion
  • Reciprocity (Commerce)--Canada--Public opinion
  • Women--Suffrage
  • Industrial policy
  • Monetary policy--United States
  • Food law and legislation--United States
  • Norwegian American newspapers
  • Food law and legislation
  • Political campaigns--Minnesota
  • Convict labor--Minnesota--Public opinion
  • Banking law
  • Judges--Selection and appointment
  • Norwegians Americans--Minnesota
  • Monetary policy
  • Water power--United States
  • Social conflict
  • Elections and election campaigns--Minnesota
  • Land speculation
  • Social conflict--United States
  • Tariff--Public opinion
  • Taxation--Public opinion
  • Communism--Public opinion
  • Conservation of natural resources--Law and legislation
  • Convict labor--Public opinion
  • Norwegian Americans
  • Norwegian--Americans--Ethnic identity
  • Indians--Land tenure
  • Banking law--United States
  • Maritime law--United States
  • Neutrality--United States
  • Drugs--Law and legislation--United States
  • Ojibwa Indians--Land tenure--Minnesota
  • Public opinion--Minnesota
  • Grain trade--Law and legislation--United States--Public opinion
  • Child labor--Law and legislation--United States--Public opinion
  • Maritime law
  • Collecting of accounts--Minnesota
  • Real Estate Business
  • Railroads--Employees--Law and legislation
  • Corporations--Taxation--Public opinion
  • Drugs--Law and legislation
  • World War, 1914-1918--Public opinion
  • Corporations--Taxation--United States--Public opinion
  • Collecting of accounts
  • Children--Legal status, laws, etc
  • Irish Americans--Minnesota--Ethnic identity
  • Child welfare--Law and legislation--United States
  • Elections and election campaigns
  • Indian reservations
  • German Americans--Public opinion
  • Labor unions--Political activity
  • Pressure groups
  • Postal service--Employees--Selection and appointment--Minnesota
  • Land speculation--Minnesota
  • Child labor--Law and legislation--Public opinion
  • World War, 1914-1918--Minnesota--Public opinion
  • Railroads and state
  • Railroads and state--United States
  • Labor unions--United States--Political activity
  • Prohibition
  • Labor laws and legislation--United States--Public opinion
  • Scandinavian Americans--Politics and government
  • Labor disputes--Public opinion
  • Water-power
  • Prohibition--United States
  • Judges--Selection and appointment--Minnesota
  • Pensions--Law and legislation--United States
  • German Americans--Ethnic identity
  • Real estate business--Minnesota
  • Shipping--United States
  • Public opinion
  • Taxation--United States--Public opinion
  • German Americans--Minnesota--Ethnic identity
  • Political Campaigns
  • Tariffs--United States--Public opinion
  • Labor laws and legislation--Public opinion
  • Neutrality
  • Shipping
  • Liquor laws--United States--Public opinion
  • Conservation of natural resources--Law and legislation--United States
  • Grain trade--Law and legislation--Public opinion
  • Indians of North America--Reservations
  • Pressure groups--United States
  • Industry and state--United States
  • Ojibwa Indians--Land tenure
  • Progressivism (United States politics)
  • Labor disputes--United States--Public opinion
  • Liquor laws--Public opinion
  • Pensions--Law and legislation
  • Patronage, Political
  • Indians of North America--Government relations
  • Women--Suffrage--United States
  • Postal service--Employees--Selection and appointment
  • Railroad land grants

Occupations:

  • Lawyers
  • Veterans
  • Soldiers
  • Legislators--United States
  • Lawyers--Minnesota

Places:

  • Mississippi River (as recorded)
  • Ireland (as recorded)
  • Ireland (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Red Lake Indian Reservation (Minn.) (as recorded)
  • White Earth Indian Reservation (Minn.) (as recorded)
  • Mexico (as recorded)
  • Red Lake Indian Reservation (Minn.). (as recorded)
  • White Earth Indian Reservation (Minn.). (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Alaska (as recorded)
  • Norway (as recorded)
  • Minnesota (as recorded)
  • Mississippi River (as recorded)
  • Alaska (as recorded)
  • Mexico (as recorded)
  • Minnesota (as recorded)
  • Canada (as recorded)
  • Canada (as recorded)