William Lemke: American politician (1878 - 1950)
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William Lemke
American politician

William Lemke

William Lemke
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American politician
Was Politician Lawyer
From United States of America
Field Law Politics
Gender male
Birth 13 August 1878, Albany
Death 30 May 1950, Fargo (aged 71 years)
Star sign Leo
The details (from wikipedia)


William Frederick Lemke (August 13, 1878 – May 30, 1950) was a United States politician.

Life and career

He was born in Albany, Minnesota, and raised in Towner County, North Dakota, the son of Fred Lemke and Julia Anna Kleir, pioneer farmers who had accumulated some 2,700 acres (11 km2) of land. As a boy, Lemke worked long hours on the family farm, attending a common school for only three months in the summers. However, the family did reserve enough money to send him to the University of North Dakota, where he was a superior student. Graduating in 1902, he stayed at the state university for the first year of law school but moved to Georgetown University, then to Yale Law School, where he finished work on his law degree and won the praise of the dean. He returned to his home state in 1905 to set up practice at Fargo. Lemke was a Freemason.

Lemke was the attorney general of North Dakota from 1921 to 1922. He later was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1932, an NPLer. He served four two-year terms in Congress.

While in Congress, Lemke earned a reputation as a progressive populist and supporter of the New Deal, championing the causes of family farmers and co-sponsoring legislation to protect farmers against foreclosures during the Great Depression.

In 1934, Lemke co-sponsored the Frazier–Lemke Farm Bankruptcy Act, restricting the ability of banks to repossess farms. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the act into law on June 28, 1934. The Act was later ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in Louisville Joint Stock Land Bank v. Radford. Lemke tried to get the Act re-passed by Congress, but was stymied by the Roosevelt administration which privately told Congressmen that they would exercise a Presidential veto against the bill. The Act was eventually re-passed and later held constitutional by the Supreme Court. Lemke was a political friend and ally of Louisiana populist Huey Long prior to his assassination in 1935.

Later in 1936, Lemke accepted the nomination of the Union Party, a short-lived third party, as their candidate for President of the United States. He received 892,378 votes, or just under 2% nationwide, and no electoral votes in the 1936 election. Simultaneously, he was reelected to the House of Representatives as a Republican. Many believe Lemke's acceptance of the Union Party nomination in 1936 was out of bitterness toward Roosevelt over the farm mortgage issue. Through the Union Party, Lemke befriended other populists such as Fr. Charles Coughlin.

In 1940, after having already received the Republican nomination for a fifth House term, he withdrew from that race to launch an unsuccessful run as an independent for the U.S. Senate. He ran again for Congress in 1942 as a Republican and served four more terms, until his death in 1950.

Lemke died of a heart attack in Fargo, North Dakota and is buried in Riverside Cemetery. Former Atlanta Braves baseball player Mark Lemke is Lemke's second cousin twice removed.

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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