FRAZIER, LYNN (1874-1947)
Lynn J. Frazier, governor and U.S. senator from North Dakota, was born in Steele County, Minnesota, on December 21, 1874, and moved to North Dakota in 1881. He graduated from the University of North Dakota in 1901 and returned to the family farm in Pembina County.
In 1916 the newly organized Nonpartisan League recruited Frazier, who had never run for public office, to run for governor of North Dakota. Frazier was elected in a landslide. He was reelected in 1918 and 1920. During his administration, League reforms that were enacted included a state-owned grain elevator, state-owned bank, and Industrial Commission. In 1921 opponents of Frazier's reform program forced a recall election. Frazier was defeated by Ragnvold Nestos, becoming the first American governor to be recalled from office. In 1922, however, Frazier was recruited to run for the U.S. Senate and was easily elected.
As a senator, Frazier aligned himself with the progressive Republican bloc led by Robert La Follette and George Norris. Frazier and his fellow progressives supported agrarian and other social reforms, organized labor, and public power. He was reelected in 1928 and 1934. By the late 1920s Frazier had turned much of his attention to world affairs. An isolationist and pacifist, Frazier supported efforts by the Women's Peace Union to ban war and introduced a constitutional amendment outlawing warfare. He also supported national referenda to determine whether the United States would become involved in foreign wars. In 1940 Frazier ran for a fourth term but lost the Republican primary to William Langer. He retired to his farm and died on January 11, 1947.
See also PROTEST AND DISSENT: Nonpartisan League.
Fred M. Shelly Southwest Texas State University
Erickson, Nels. The Gentleman from North Dakota: Lynn J. Frazier. Bismarck: North Dakota Heritage Center, 1986.