Olson, Floyd Bjornstjerne (byûrnˈstĕrˌnə) [key], 1891–1936, American lawyer and politician, b. Minneapolis. In his early life he was an itinerant laborer and for a time belonged to the Industrial Workers of the World. He studied law at the Univ. of Minnesota and at the Northwestern College of Law in Minneapolis and in 1915 was admitted to the bar. As county attorney (1920–30) of Hennepin co., he brought about an investigation of graft in the Minneapolis city council. Elected governor of Minnesota three times (1930, 1932, and 1934) on the Farmer-Labor ticket, Olson won national attention in 1933 by threatening to declare martial law and confiscate private wealth unless the legislature enacted relief measures to deal with depression conditions. A strong supporter of the New Deal, he led in the repeal of the Minnesota newspaper "gag" laws, ordered a two-year moratorium on mortgage foreclosures of farms, secured relief for the unemployed, and openly sided with labor in a series of strikes that occurred after 1934.
See biography by G. H. Mayer (1951).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.