Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Milton R. Young rose from the obscurity of a small farm in North Dakota to the prominence of a United States Senator. He began his political career as a member of the Henrietta Township Board, served one term in the North Dakota House of Representatives, three terms in the North Dakota Senate, and as of January 1, 1977, was the Republican Dean of the United States Senate.

Young, a lifelong Republican, opposed William Langer, the state's most skillful politician, throughout his career in the state legislature and helped organize the Republican Organizing Committee, a faction of the Republican Party formed to break Langer's control over the government of North Dakota. In 1944, Young's faction won control of the governor's seat and the state legislature from the Nonpartisan League, Langer's faction, but Langer remained strong. Upon the death of Senator John Moses in 1945, Governor Fred Aandahl appointed Young to the United States Senate. He ran for the seat in the 1946 special election against Gerald Nye, a Republican and former U.S. Senator, and Democrat William Lanier. In order to win that election, Young co-operated with his traditional enemy, William Langer, and won the election by a 2 to 1 margin.

The thesis traces Young's rise from the rural background to his position as a politician as skilled in the art of politics as William Langer himself, using contemporary newspapers and personal papers of the men involved.