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Louis B. Hanna

On this date in 1908, North Dakotan Louis Benjamin Hanna announced his candidacy Congress. The Golden Valley Chronicle was one of many newspapers that ran a detailed statement of Hanna’s platform. He said it was time to remove tariffs where the “only effect is to impose unnecessary burdens on the public.” He specifically mentioned the tariff on lumber. He said it was important for the President to appoint a tariff commission. This nonpartisan committee would study all facets of tariffs and make recommendations to the President and Congress.

Hanna was also concerned about immigration. He said he was opposed to “immigration of Orientals to this country” because he believed it would depress wages for American workers. Related to Hanna’s concerns about labor was his desire to enact a strong child labor law that would not only protect children, but also give them an opportunity for education.

Hanna was a towering figure in North Dakota. He was born in Pennsylvania. In 1881 he and his brother Robert ventured out to Dakota Territory and began farming hear Hope. The following year Hanna sold his land and moved to Page where he began a career in business. He started out in the lumber industry and expanded into handling grain. He started the First National Bank of Page. His political career began in the North Dakota House of Representatives, where he served from 1897-1899.

In 1899 Hanna moved to Fargo where he was vice president of the First National Bank. He served in the State Senate twice, from 1897 to 1901 and again from 1905 to 1909. Republican Hanna won his party’s nomination for Congress and went on to serve as the state’s representative from 1909 to 1913. From there, he went on to serve as North Dakota Governor from 1913 to 1917.

During his term as governor he and his family traveled to Norway where he presented a statue of Abraham Lincoln to the people of Norway. The king of Norway decorated Hanna with the Grand Cross of Saint Olaf. As the United States became involved with World War I, Hanna served in France as a captain in the American Red Cross, earning him entry into the French Legion of Honor.

L.B. Hanna died in 1948 at age 86. He left behind a legacy of a success as both businessman and politician. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery in Fargo.

Dakota Datebook written by Carole Butcher


Golden Valley Chronicle. “L.B. Hanna and His Platform.” 6 March 1908. Beach, ND. Page 1.

State Historical Society of North Dakota. “North Dakota Governors: L.B. Hanna.”  Accessed 30 January 2019.

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