James E. Sperry Gallery - The Peak of Power

A.C. Townley speaking at a NPL rally in 1917

The Peak of Power: The Nonpartisan League 100 Years Ago

A new exhibit has been installed in the James E. Sperry Gallery titled The Peak of Power: The Nonpartisan League 100 Years Ago. This exhibit takes a look back at the political scene of the time.

Like a "prairie fire," the newly formed Nonpartisan League (NPL), a farmer protest movement, spread across the state, gaining membership and support from farmers and other workers. The organization's strategy for victory was to run NPL candidates as Republicans in primary elections. Following the elections of 1916 and 1918, the NPL controlled both houses of the Legislative Assembly, the Supreme Court, and the Governor's office. The 1919 legislative session became the stage for the NPL platform to be implemented.

1918 saw the formation of the Independent Voters Association (IVA), a Republican organization that strongly opposed the NPL. The political battle between the two was intense, sometimes humorous, and could be downright nasty.

This exhibit displays items from the State Archives that highlight the NPL platform and the political activities of the NPL and its opponents from 1915-1921. These primary sources include documents, publications, photographs, and oral histories.

The exhibit will be on display through June 2017.