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Joseph M. Dixon

john m dixon deceased hopkinsville ky, joseph m dixon
Joseph Moore Dixon July 31, 1867 – May 22, 1934 was a Republican politician from Montana He served as a Representative, Senator, and the seventh Governor of Montana A businessman and a modernizer of Quaker heritage, Dixon was a leader of the Progressive Movement in Montana and nationally His term as governor, 1921–1925, was unsuccessful, as severe economic hardship limited the opportunities for action by the state government, and his great enemy the Anaconda Copper company mobilized its resources to defeat reform


  • 1 Early life
  • 2 Early career
  • 3 Political career
  • 4 References
  • 5 Further reading
  • 6 External links

Early lifeedit

Dixon was born in Snow Camp, North Carolina to a Quaker family; his father operated a farm and a small factory Dixon attended Quaker colleges, Earlham College in Indiana and Guilford College in North Carolina, graduating in 18891 He excelled at history, debate and oratory Dixon moved to the frontier town of Missoula, Montana in 1891, where he studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1892 Although he left the Quaker faith, he never abandoned Quaker ideals

Early careeredit

Dixon served as assistant prosecuting attorney of Missoula County from 1893 to 1895 and prosecuting attorney from 1895 to 1897 In 1900, he served in the Montana House of Representatives2 He married Caroline M Worden, daughter of prominent Missoula businessman Frank Worden, in 1896 They had seven children: Virginia, Florence, Dorothy, Betty, Mary Joe, Peggy, and Frank Frank died shortly after birth3 Dixon grew wealthy through his law practice and his investments in real estate; to further his political ambitions in 1900 he bought a Missoula newspaper, the Missoulian

Political careeredit

Dixon took advantage of the internal dissension among rival factions of the Democratic party to rise rapidly in politics In 1902 and 1904 he won congressional races, and in 1907 the Montana legislature chose him for a US Senate seat4 He became an ardent admirer of President Theodore Roosevelt, and joined the progressive wing of the party, fighting the conservatives He unsuccessfully ran for reelection in 1912, but that year, he was the campaign manager for Roosevelt and chaired the National Progressive Convention that nominated Roosevelt on the third-party Progressive Party "Bull Moose" ticket as the GOP split between progressives and stand—patters Out of office, Dixon returned to Montana to look after his newspaper properties, and to battle the Amalgamated Copper Company, the behemoth that dominated both political parties through its corrupt spending He finally sold his newspapers, and they were taken over by Amalgamated In 1920, Dixon ran for Governor of Montana, and, following farmer unrest that weakened the copper company, Dixon was carried by the national Republican landslide into office as governor, defeating Democratic nominee Burton K Wheeler comfortably5 Although Dixon had many reform proposals, he was unable to enact them because of the severe economic depression in the state, and the systematic opposition of Anaconda Copper He was defeated for reelection in 1924 to John E Erickson and for the Senate in 1928, losing to his one-time foe, Wheeler, in the general election6

In 1929 he was appointed First Assistant Secretary of the Interior, and served in that position until 19337 In 1930, he was involved with a project to develop water power on the Flathead Indian Reservation, and with it, a complex network of water rights for the Reservation

He died in Missoula, Montana on May 22, 1934 due to heart problems He is interred at the Missoula Cemetery in Missoula, Montana8


  1. ^ "Guide to the Joseph M Dixon Papers" The University of Montana Retrieved October 14, 2012 
  2. ^ "Dixon, Joseph Moore 1867-1934" The Political Graveyard Retrieved October 14, 2012 
  3. ^ "Guide to the Joseph M Dixon Papers 1772-1944" The University of Montana-Missoula Retrieved October 8, 2013 
  4. ^ "Sen Joseph Dixon" govtrackus Retrieved October 14, 2012 
  5. ^ "Joseph M Dixon" Montana Historical Society Archived from the original on 20 August 2012 Retrieved 26 August 2012 
  6. ^ Tribune Staff "125 Montana Newsmakers: Joseph M Dixon" Great Falls Tribune Retrieved August 23, 2011 
  7. ^ "Montana Governor Joseph Moore Dixon" National Governors Association Retrieved October 14, 2012 
  8. ^ Lawrence Kestenbaum July 22, 2013 "Dixon, Joseph Moore 1867-1934" Political Graveyard Retrieved October 10, 2013 

Further readingedit

  • Jules A Karlin, Joseph M Dixon of Montana 2 vols, 1974
  • Jules A Karlin "Dixon, Joseph Moore"; American National Biography Online Feb 2000

External linksedit

  • United States Congress "Joseph M Dixon id: D000372" Biographical Directory of the United States Congress 
  • National Governors Association
  • Montana Historical Society
  • The Political Graveyard
  • govtrackus
  • Joseph M Dixon Papers University of Montana Archives
  • Charles L Cowell Papers University of Montana Archives

US House of Representatives
Preceded by
Caldwell Edwards
Member of the US House of Representatives
from Montana's At-large congressional district

Succeeded by
Charles N Pray
US Senate
Preceded by
William A Clark
US Senator from Montana
Succeeded by
Thomas J Walsh
Political offices
Preceded by
Sam V Stewart
Governor of Montana
Succeeded by
John Edward Erickson

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Joseph M. Dixon

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