The first Minnesotan to gain national prominence was Ignatius Donnelly. This eccentric and important figure came to Minnesota from his native Philadelphia in 1857. A renaissance man, he was a land speculator, newspaper editor, poet and author, literary critic, and first and foremost, a politician. He led every agrarian movement and party that supported the farmer's interest, including the Farmers' Alliance movement and the Populist Party. He was the Republican lieutenant governor, elected as a representative to Congress several times, served multiple terms in the state legislature, and was the vice-presidential nominee for the People's Party. His articulate pen and tongue reached its zenith in the preamble to the Populist Party platform in 1892 where he warned: "From the same prolific womb of governmental injustice we breed two great classes--paupers and millionaires." Additionally, he wrote utopian science fiction such as Caesar's Column and a book arguing that the true identity of Shakespeare was Francis Bacon.
~Lori Williamson, St. Paul, MN