Citizens Opposing Political Corruption
    in Montana's Elections

Joseph M. Dixon

Montana Newspaperman,1900-1917
U.S. Representative, 1902-1906
U.S. Senator, 1907-1912 
Montana Governor 1920-1924

Primary legislation is, of course, a crude way of making nominations, but under the present control of legislative assemblies by the big interests, it is the only way left to restore representative government to the people themselves. It may be defeated temporarily, but in the end it will come certain as fate.   U.S. Senator Joseph Dixon, mid summer 1911

The Amalgamated owned a newspaper in Missoula on which it incurred a deficit of three thousand dollars a month.  It controlled virtually all the mineral and timber interests of Montana. These overlords of Wall Street evaded their fare share of taxes in Montana as millions of dollars went into the princely salaries of Amalgamated offices and into dividends to Wall Street speculators.  It was the subtle policy of the Amalgamated leaders to confuse and smother public opinion.  If they cannot control men and newspapers, they will hamstring and assassinate them, politically and financially.   J. M. Dixon, April 2, 1913

“The people of Montana intend to do no deliberate injustice to the Amalgamated. They only ask for a square deal.“  J.M. Dixon

"Dixon is admitted by his enemies to be a man of ability.  He has a record of independence of 'Company" domination.  He is too big a man for any 'special interest' to find it easy to handle him."  The Chinook Opinion [March 12, 1920

"In the face of the most concerted, powerful, vitriolic and relentless opposition, Dixon remained coolly rational, steadfast in his integrity and unwavering in his belief that only if the burdens of government were distributed with equity and fairness could democracy survive."  K. Ross Toole [Unpublished paper, Montana Historical Society, J.M. Dixon vertical file]

  A Life Well Lived

Born among Quakers in Snow Camp, South Carolina, 1867, Joseph Dixon's early life was shaped by a community striving to recover from the ravages of the Civil War. During his school years, he excelled at debate and went to Earlman College in Indiana. He secured a job at the North State newspaper to cover expenses and apprenticed at a law office.

Dixon retuned to North Carolina via Washington D.C. and set his cap for a position in the capitol.  But the career of a Republican in the Democratic South was daunting enough to make him look West, the land he knew from Teddy Roosevelt's escapades. 

At the age of 24, he arrived in Missoula, Montana to work at his uncle's law office.  Soon he was admitted to the Montana bar.

Dixon joined the Republican Party and became a leader.  His political career started in the state legislature, climbed to U.S Congressman, then U.S. Senator.

Along the way, he became the publisher of the Missoulian, one of the few Montana newspapers not wearing the "Copper Collar" and controlled by corporate interests.


"Dixon should not be missed from the list of the finest politicians of his age.  He should probably top the list."  K. Ross Toole