Warren Chase

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Studio portrait of Warren Chase, Fourierist and politician who served in the state senates of Wisconsin and California

Warren Chase (January 5, 1813 – February 25, 1891) was an American pioneer, reformer, and politician.


Chase was born in Pittsfield, New Hampshire on January 5, 1813. He moved to Monroe, Michigan and then to Wisconsin.

In Wisconsin[edit]

In the fall of 1843 the Franklin Lyceum of Southport (today known as Kenosha) began discussing the ideas of the French philosopher Charles Fourier and his American popularizer Albert Brisbane.[1] Convinced of the applicability of Fourier's "Associationist" prescription, Chase committed himself to the emerging movement without reservation, organizing a series of preliminary meetings to draft a constitution for a local "phalanx."[2]

On March 23, 1844, a formal meeting of phalanx supporters was held at the Southport village schoolhouse, officers were elected, and a group of three, including Warren Chase, were tapped as trustees of the phalanx.[3] A bond sale of $10,000 was approved and stock in the new enterprise began to be sold.[3] On May 8, 1844, they decided to purchase 1.25 sections (800 acres) of government land,[4] located in a valley between two gentle hills. By that fall a total of 1.5 sections (960 acres) were purchased[5] which would become Ceresco, Wisconsin (later merged into Ripon.

Chase helped found Ripon College. Chase was a supporter of the temperance, abolitionist, and spiritualist movements and wrote books and articles.

Chase served in the two Wisconsin Constitutional Conventions of 1846 and 1847 and was elected to the first Wisconsin Senate from Wisconsin Senate, District 4 as a Democrat.[6] In 1849, he was the candidate of the newly organized Free Soil Party for Governor of Wisconsin, coming in third behind Democratic incumbent Nelson Dewey and Whig Alexander Collins.

After Wisconsin[edit]

After the dissolution of the Wisconsin Phalanx, he moved to Illinois, Missouri, and California. While in California he was elected to the California State Senate on the Workingmen's Party ticket; it is unclear whether he agreed with the racist ideas of Workingmen's Party leader Denis Kearney, or merely with the party's anti-capitalist doctrines. He served on the California Senate from 1879 to 1882,[7] and lost his re-election bid as a Greenbacker He later ran for Congress in California as a Greenback.


Warren Chase died in Cobden, Illinois.[8][9][10][11]


  1. ^ * Samuel M. Pedrick, "Sketch of the Wisconsin Phalanx," Proceedings of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin at its 50th Annual Meeting held Dec. 11, 1902. Madison, WI: Wisconsin Historical Society, 1903; pp. 191-192.
  2. ^ Pedrick, "Sketch of the Wisconsin Phalanx," pp. 192-193.
  3. ^ a b Pedrick, "Sketch of the Wisconsin Phalanx," pg. 193.
  4. ^ Pedrick, "Sketch of the Wisconsin Phalanx," pp. 193-194.
  5. ^ Pedrick, "Sketch of the Wisconsin Phalanx," pg. 194.
  6. ^ "Members of the Wisconsin Legislature 1848–1999 State of Wisconsin Legislative Bureau. Information Bulletin 99-1, September 1999. p. 4
  7. ^ Chase, Warren 1813-1891
  8. ^ Photograph of Warren Chase
  9. ^ Warren Chase, Wisconsin Historical Society
  10. ^ Warren Chase
  11. ^ Biographical Profile, Ripon College