Joseph M. Dixon Papers 1772-1944

Dixon, Joseph M. (Joseph Moore), 1867-1934


70 linear ft.
Organized into fifteen series: I. Personal and Biographical, 1772-1934 and [undated]. II. Correspondence, 1883-1934 and [undated]. III. Campaigns, 1902-1928 and [undated]. IV. Clippings, 1848-1944 and [undated]. V. Financial and Legal, 1885-1944. VI. Speeches and Writings, 1894-1932 and [undated]. VII. Printed Materials, 1876-1933 and [undated]. VIII. Business Interests, 1882-1934. IX. U.S. House, Senate, and Undersecretary of the Interior, 1903-1933 and [undated]. X. Governor of Montana, 1913-1925 and [undated]. XI. Roosevelt Campaign, 1911-1913. XII. Scrapbooks, 1894-1928. XIII. Photographs and Drawings, 1837-1933 and [undated]. XIV. Artifacts, [undated]. XV. Family Papers, 1850-1891.
Correspondence files, legal documents, financial records, campaign/political materials, photographs, and personal affects of Joseph M. Dixon, with particular representation from his public service as U.S. representative and senator and Montana governor, as well as a national leader in the Republican and Bull Moose parties. Papers provide insights into Dixon's personal life, private political opinions and strategies, professional (both political and business) relationships, and actions on behalf of the early twentieth century's Progressive movement. Correspondents include Dixon's wife, Caroline, and other family members, as well as prominent Montana and national political figures, including Theodore Roosevelt, William H. Taft, Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, and Herbert Hoover. Topics include Theodore Roosevelt's 1912 Presidential campaign; the progressive/Bull Moose movement in Montana; changes in Montana and national Republican-Democratic Party dynamics resulting from the progressive movement; and Dixon's role in promoting early twentieth century natural and cultural resource conservation ideals, including federal land set-asides, massive irrigation/hydro-electric projects, species preservation, and American Indian assimilation and termination of tribal trust responsibilities.
Lawyer, of Missoula, Mont., and U.S. Representative and Senator -- Born in Snow Camp, N.C., in 1867, Joseph Moore Dixon moved to Missoula, Mont., at the age of twenty-four to read law. He was admitted to the Montana bar in 1892 and became involved with Republican politics. Dixon was elected to the Montana legislature in 1900 and was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1902 and 1904. While in the House, he introduced and passed the bill that opened the Flathead Indian Reservation to white settlement. In 1906 the Montana legislature elected him to the U.S. Senate. There, he dealt with issues of interstate tariffs and unequal rail freight charges. In 1912 he headed Theodore Roosevelt's Bull Moose Party and was defeated in his bid for popular election to the U.S. Senate. After Roosevelt's defeat, Dixon retreated to Missoula to focus on his law practice and business affairs. His businesses were considerable. In 1900 he acquired a controlling interest in the Missoulian, Missoula's Republican newspaper. Between 1912 and 1917, when the paper was sold, he was vitally involved with the paper's editorial policy. He was also involved in real estate and owned a dairy and a farm and had mining interests.
In 1919 Dixon ran for governor against Burton K. Wheeler, was elected, and served one term. While in office, he dealt with the beginnings of drought and agricultural depression in the state, a large deficit, the Anaconda Copper Mining Company and its control of the state, the state's system of taxation, and the need for administrative reform. Throughout his tenure, he endured unrelenting attacks from the Anaconda Copper Mining Company-owned press and other company allies. Those attacks were perhaps most intense over the investigation of allegations of maladministration and misuse of state funds by Montana State Prison warden Frank Conley. Dixon was not re-elected in 1924, losing to Democrat John E. Erickson. He returned to Missoula and his ranch and increased his real estate holdings in Missoula. In 1929 Moore was appointed First Assistant Secretary of the Interior and in 1930 he became vitally involved with a project to develop water power on the Flathead Indian Reservation, with its accompanying complex network of water rights. Joseph Moore Dixon died in May 1934.
This record replaces NUCMC entry MS 78-1604.
Finding aid in the repository.

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