Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. D. Jerome Tweten


The problem involved in this thesis is to investigate the causes for Senator Nye's defeat in the 1944 Senatorial election. The particular problem involved here is that isolationism has been commonly interpreted as the decisive reason for his defeat. This, however, is a singular interpretation of history largely stemming from the national scene while ignoring developments on the local level.

The procedure then was to investigate the opinion of Senator Nye from the state level. This included research in personalities and public episodes concurrent with Nye's year in the Senate. It also included a careful analysis of the North Dakota newspapers regarding the 1944 Senatorial election.

The results of the studies made on the state level largely remove isolationism as the major cause for Senator Nye's defeat. Instead, we find such issues as the discontent of North Dakotans with Nye's record in Congress, the domestic problems of the Senator which caused resentment in North Dakota, the tremendous campaign waged by Governor Moses who defeated Nye. The personage of William Langer always looming in the shadow attempted at every opportunity to defeat his old political foe, Senator Nye. In conclusion, Nye's defeat resulted from a multiple set of historical causes rather than the singular issue of isolationism. This study has not totally discredited isolationism as an issue but merely has excluded a singular interpretation of history in preference to multiple interpretations.

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