Jacob Thorkelson

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Jacob Thorkelson (September 24, 1876 – November 20, 1945) was a U.S. congressman, Naval officer and medical doctor.


Thorkelson was born in Egersund, a coastal town in the county of Rogaland, Norway. Thorkelson immigrated to the United States in 1892 and worked as a navigator.[1] He was a physician who graduated from the College of Physicians and Surgeons, University of Maryland, Baltimore in 1911, and served as a member of the faculty from 1911 until 1913. He served in the United States Naval Reserve from 1936 until 1939 with the rank of lieutenant commander.

In 1938, he ran as a Republican Party candidate for the United States House of Representatives, representing the 1st District of Montana. He defeated incumbent representative Jerry J. O'Connell and served as United States Representative from March 3, 1939 until March 1, 1941.

Thorkelson was labeled as "rabidly pro-fascist and anti-semitic"[2] and "Jew-baiting, Fascist-minded" [3] by contemporary journalists for his use of the Congressional Record to reprint anti-British and anti-Jewish propaganda and his support for retired General George Van Horn Moseley.[4] Commentator Walter Winchell called Thorkelson "the mouthpiece of the Nazi movement in congress".[5] Thorkelson later sued Winchell for $1.8 million after being included by Winchell as one of a list of "Americans We Can Do Without".[6]

Modern historians have described Thorkelson as "best known for his diatribes against Jews and the New Deal and for his calls to revise the United States Constitution"[7] and "a raging anti-semite and pro-fascist".[8]

Thorkelson was defeated in the 1940 Republican primary by Jeannette Rankin. He unsuccessfully ran for the United States Senate in 1942 and for Governor of Montana in 1944.[1]


  1. ^ a b "Thorkelson, Jacob, (1876 - 1945)". United States Congress. Retrieved July 24, 2011. 
  2. ^ Kay, Hubert (May 19, 1941). "Boss Isolationist: Burton K. Wheeler". Life. 
  3. ^ "Montana: The People's Choice". Time. July 13, 1942. Retrieved 1 November 2010. 
  4. ^ "National Affairs: Comes the Revolution". Time. October 30, 1939. Retrieved 1 November 2010. 
  5. ^ Birdwell, Michael E. (2000). Celluloid Soldiers: The Warner Bros. Campaign against Nazism. NYU Press. p. 31. ISBN 0-8147-9871-3. 
  6. ^ Page Masters (Time Magazine. November. 30, 1942)
  7. ^ Smith, Norma (2002). Jeannette Rankin, America's Conscience. Montana Historical Society. p. 172. ISBN 0-917298-79-9. 
  8. ^ Morrison, John; Catherine Wright Morrison (2003). Mavericks: The Lives and Battles of Montana's Political Legends. Montana Historical Society. p. 188. ISBN 0-917298-93-4.