Joseph A. A. Burnquist

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Joseph Alfred Arner Burnquist
Governor Joseph Alfred A. Burnquist in 1922
19th Governor of Minnesota
In office
December 30, 1915 – January 5, 1921
Lieutenant George H. Sullivan
Thomas Frankson
Preceded by Winfield Scott Hammond
Succeeded by J. A. O. Preus
20th Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota
In office
Governor Adolph O. Eberhart
Winfield S. Hammond
Preceded by Samuel Y. Gordon
Succeeded by George H. Sullivan
Personal details
Born (1879-07-21)July 21, 1879
Dayton, Iowa
Died January 12, 1961(1961-01-12) (aged 81)
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Mary Louise Cross
Alma mater University of Minnesota Law School
Profession Lawyer, politician
Religion Congregationalist

Joseph Alfred Arner Burnquist (July 21, 1879 – January 12, 1961) was an American politician. He served in the Minnesota State Legislature from 1909 to 1911, was elected the 20th Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota in 1912, and then served as the 19th Governor of Minnesota from December 30, 1915 to January 5, 1921. He became Governor after the death of Governor Winfield Scott Hammond. He later served the state as Attorney General from January 2, 1939 until January 3, 1955. He was a Republican.

Election poster from 1918.


He was born in 1879 in Dayton, Iowa of Swedish descent and earned his law degree from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1905.[1] After a brief time practicing law in St. Paul, he entered politics as a state legislator in 1908. During his second term as lieutenant governor, he succeeded Governor Hammond, who died in office.

Turbulent times surrounded America's entrance into World War I in 1917. Not all Americans supported U.S. involvement in a European war, and this feeling was heightened in Minnesota because of dissatisfaction among farmers and laborers, who were more concerned with domestic policy than with the conflict overseas. Supporters of the war, suspicious of radicals, pacifists, and the foreign-born, acted quickly to stifle dissent. Through the Public Safety Commission—which Burnquist created in 1917 to monitor public sentiment toward the war—he quashed pacifist demonstrations and denounced in his final inaugural message those "few socialistically and anarchistically inclined" who questioned America's involvement in "the world's baptism of blood."[citation needed] The commission, ostensibly nonpartisan, firmly opposed any action its conservative members considered suspect or un-American.

While primarily concerned with war issues, Burnquist also initiated legislation that improved the state highways, disaster assistance programs, labor relations, and, especially the welfare of children.

After leaving office he practiced law for 17 years before beginning his lengthy tenure as state attorney general in 1936. During the 1920s, he wrote several works in the series "Minnesota and its People" at his home in St. Paul.[2]

Until his death in Minneapolis, Minnesota at 81, Burnquist maintained the bearing and manner of a strong-willed senior statesman.


  1. ^ Jessica Thompson, Minnesota's Legal Hall of Fame, Law & Politics, Accessed November 28, 2010.
  2. ^ Melo, Frederick (April 8, 2015). "St. Paul Crocus Hill home demolition gets court's OK". Pioneer Press (St. Paul, Minnesota). Retrieved 2015-04-09. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Winfield Scott Hammond
Governor of Minnesota
Succeeded by
J. A. O. Preus
Preceded by
Samuel Y. Gordon
Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota
Succeeded by
George H. Sullivan
Legal offices
Preceded by
William S. Ervin
Minnesota Attorney General
Succeeded by
Miles Lord