Nonpartisan League

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Nonpartisan League,

in U.S. history, political pressure group of farmers and workers organized in 1915 and led by a former socialist, Arthur C. Townley, who believed that the solution to the farmers' troubles lay in united political action. Feeding on agrarian discontent with falling prices and political boss rule, the Nonpartisan League spread through the Western wheat belt from Wisconsin to Washington and to the Southwest; its greatest strength was in Minnesota and the Dakotas. The group demanded state-owned grain elevators, flour mills, and packing houses as well as low-cost public housing for farmers and workers. Although it was not a political party in the usual sense, it exercised its power by endorsing and even nominating candidates of the major parties. It never attracted support from industrial workers, and other means for expressing the farmers' desires opened. After World War I it declined sharply, although it retained prominence in some areas, particularly North Dakota.
References in periodicals archive ?
In December 1916, five farmers started the Alberta Non-Partisan League.
The Non-Partisan League in Canada and the United States was a political movement, strongly opposed to the old school of political practices and the economic conditions that it gave rise to, Members of the League were confident in their mission and were staunch advocates of pure democratic ideals.
Although they adopted different political strategies, the existing farm organizations were partly responsible for the birth and rise of the Non-Partisan League.
Central to the Non-Partisan League in Alberta and North Dakota lay a deep-seated commitment to political democracy.
Mills, author of Democracy or Despotism, made it clear that "the Non-Partisan League demands that the ships and roads that had to be taken over for the sake of efficiency in time of war shall stay forever in the hands of Uncle Sam.
Why then did the Non-Partisan League not address free trade in its initial program?
When the UFA decided to enter politics, the Non-Partisan League decided that the best interests of the agrarian movement called for its absorption into the larger farmers' movement.
Laidley, The Why of the Farmers Non-Partisan League of Canada (Swift Current: published at League headquarters in Saskatchewan, 1916), 14-17.