Scandinavians in the State House

Scandinavians in the State House book by Klas Bergman.

Scandinavians in the State House

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Beginning in the 1850s, thousands of immigrants from Nordic countries settled in Minnesota and quickly established themselves in the political life of their new home. These Norwegians, Swedes, Danes, Finns, and Icelanders first sowed their political seeds at the local level--as town clerks, city councilmen, county commissioners, sheriffs--and then broadened their sights to the state and national realm.  Nordic immigrants served as governors, as Minnesota state senators and representatives, as U.S. congressmen, and as vice presidents of the United States. Many came to this country for political reasons and became radicals and activists in Minnesota.  Others served as key leaders within the state's political parties.

In Scandinavians in the State House, Klas Bergman explores who these immigrant politicians were and what drove them to become civically involved so soon after arriving in Minnesota.  Profiling the individuals and movements at the forefront of this political activity, at the state and local level, Bergman examines the diverse political philosophies of the immigrant communities and reveals the lasting legacy of Scandinavian politicians in the creation of modern Minnesota--from Nelson and Olson, to Andersen and Carlson, to Humphrey and Mondale.


About the author:

Klas Bergman was born and raised in Stockholm, Sweden but has spent most of his adult life abroad, primarily in the United States.  A veteran journalist, he has reported from many parts of the world, Europe, the Middle East, Central America, and the United States, primarily for the Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter and the Christian Science Monitor.  His first book, "Tredje bordet från höger," about former Yugoslavia and Communist Eastern Europe came out in Sweden in 1981. In the fall of 2012, his book "Amerika--drömmarnas land" was published in Sweden. An English edition followed in 2013 under the title "Land of Dreams: A Reporter's Journey from Sweden to America."  In April 2017, his book "Scandinavians in the State House -- How Nordic Immigrants Shaped Minnesota Politics," was published by the Minnesota Historical Society Press.

Bergman is a graduate of Stanford University where he was also a Professional Journalism Fellow 1982 to 1983. He lives with his wife in Silver Spring, Maryland.