Law and Order League, Minnesota

The Minnesota Law and Order League, originally named Minnesota Law Enforcement League, was founded in 1933 by the same big business, anti labor, anti progressive forces that created the Citizen’s Alliance. In the mid-1930s its purpose was to suppress radical activism by focusing resources on promoting the power of law enforcement, and what they termed law and order. The League claimed several thousand members, far fewer than the hundreds of thousands they claimed would join.

The Hennepin Country chapter counted among its leadership Dean of Student Affairs Edward Nicholson. Though the Citizen’s Alliance directed most of their efforts, the Law and Order League made the case in the press, in pamphlets, and in lobbying legislators that they stood against crime. Nicholson spoke on their behalf. Two-thirds of their budget was devoted to spying not only on unions and leftists, but college professors, men and women in public life, lawyers and people of “progressive thought.”

While the league was created to “support law and order” and to thwart the communist “menace” threatening “the lives and property of Minnesota’s law-abiding citizens,” the Law and Order League functioned largely as another tool for the Citizens’ Alliance – specifically the Citizens’ Alliance Special Service led by Lloyd MacAloon – to collect intelligence. The connections between the Citizens’ Alliance and the Law and Order League were not explicitly secret either – both The Farmer-Labor Party and the Minneapolis Labor Review correctly understood the connections between the two groups and the pivotal role MacAloon played in both organizations’ operations.



SourceWilliam Millikan, A Union Against Unions. University of Minnesota Press, 2001Time Period1930s