William Langer: The Progressive Attorney General (1917-1920)
Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
The purpose of this study is to indicate how many of William hanger's actions during his years as Attorney General from 1917-1920, can be understood by identifying him with the progressive leaders of that day. The main sources of information used were the William hanger Papers and newspapers of the day.
Early Twentieth Century progressives were often noted for their zeal in moral reform. As Attorney General, hanger strictly and conspicuously enforced prohibition and the Blue laws, hike other progressives, he believed in the perfectability of man and looked for the day when the people would keep the laws voluntarily.
hanger expressed the progressives concern for democracy. His strict enforcement of school laws stemmed, in part, from his belief that an educated citizenry was necessary for a continued democracy. He wanted the people to become aware of their role in making the laws and governing the state.
As a typical progressive, hanger distrusted organized business and labor and viewed them as a threat to his individualism and power. In 1919, hanger asserted his independence by breaking with the Nonpartisan heague and setting out to prove that it was socialistic and corrupt. In 1920, he brought his evidence directly to the people in a vigorous primary election campaign for the governorship. Although Langer lost the election, he succeeded in changing the political situation of the state.
Weber, Elaine J., "William Langer: The Progressive Attorney General (1917-1920)" (1967). Theses and Dissertations. 2891.