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The anti-monopolist. [volume] : (Saint Paul, Minn.) 1874-1878
Place of publication:
Saint Paul, Minn.
Geographic coverage:
  • Saint Paul, Ramsey, Minnesota  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
Ignatius Donnelly
Dates of publication:
  • Ceased with Dec. 12, 1878 issue.
  • Vol. 1, no. 1 (July 16, 1874)-
  • English
  • Minnesota--Saint Paul.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01212130
  • Saint Paul (Minn.)--Newspapers.
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Available on microfilm from the Minnesota Historical Society.
sn 85025587
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The anti-monopolist. [volume] July 16, 1874 , Image 1


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The anti-monopolist, The representative

Ignatius Donnelly came to Minnesota hoping to make a fortune in real-estate, a dream killed by the banking "Panic" of 1857. Donnelly quickly moved into politics, becoming lieutenant governor of the state under Alexander Ramsey and then a United States congressman and a Minnesota state legislator. A born reformer, Donnelly's public life centered on the left-leaning third parties and farm movements of the 19th century. He fought for legislation to curtail the worst excesses of the monopolies he viewed as harmful to workers and farmers. Over his life, Donnelly stood for office 17 times, withdrawing twice, winning six elections and suffering nine defeats.

Donnelly used newspapers to promote his ideas and his agenda and to increase his influence. His belief, as stated in his first issue of the Representative, was that "In our present advanced civilization no large association of men can exist without a newspaper… No great reform can live without newspapers."

On July 16, 1874 the first issue of the weekly Anti-Monopolist was published in St. Paul, Minnesota, after Donnelly tried and failed to get the state's leading Democratic papers to explain clearly the progressive Anti-Monopoly party position. Indicative of Donnelly's style, the motto of the new paper was "Speak to the Children of Israel, that They Go Forward." A review of the Anti-Monopolist by another newspaper, the Litchfield News Ledger captured the flavor of Donnelly's paper, stating that it was "as unlike other journals as Donnelly is unlike other men" and "… is as dangerous a plaything as a porcupine. It is always erudite, humorous, sarcastic and generally logical." The newspaper spent its first months pushing the Grange (Patrons of Husbandry) to drop its opposition political activity. The Anti-Monopolist ran for four and one-half years until financial problems forced its closing with the December 12, 1878 issue.

Donnelly's other major newspaper was the Representative, which published its first weekly issue in St. Paul on April 19, 1893; publication moved to Minneapolis in May 1894. This newspaper represented Donnelly's views as president of the State Farmer's Alliance and functioned as a mouthpiece of the left-wing agrarian Populist (or People's) Party. A notice on the front page of the inaugural issue stated that Donnelly would not have time to write more than one or two columns per week, and "[h]e will have nothing to do with the rest of the newspaper which will be under the charge of editor, A. L. Stoughton; nor will he be responsible for the utterances and opinions of anybody but himself." Donnelly took over as editor-in-chief in February 1895. The Representative advocated for all the legislative efforts of the People's Party, including government ownership of the railroads. Ironically, the paper took advertising for sale of railroad lands and was accused by Donnelly's enemies of being in the pocket of railroad tycoon James J. Hill. Donnelly died January 1, 1901; the Representative continued publication through November 28, 1901, though it was suspended between June 21, 1901 and September 19, 1901.

Provided by: Minnesota Historical Society; Saint Paul, MN