“Read and Be Convinced”: The Image of the Nonpartisan League in Its Creative Production, the Early Histories, and Wider Popular Culture
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In this thesis, I examine the image of the Nonpartisan League in several different contexts, arguing that the League carefully crafted their advocative political image and their opponents painted them as disloyal socialists. The Nonpartisan League was an agrarian radical political movement beginning in North Dakota in 1915, and both its proponents and opponents created powerful images of it. I first examine the creative output of two Leaguers, the poet Florence Borner and the cartoonist John Miller Baer. I then transition to four competing histories of the Nonpartisan League, published from 1920-21, by Herbert Gaston, Charles Edward Russell, William Langer, and Andrew Bruce, all of whom craft divergent images of the League dependent upon their vantage point. I close with a look at the image of the League within wider popular culture, examining Main Street by Sinclair Lewis, the public statements of Theodore Roosevelt, and the 1978 film Northern Lights.