Frank O. Lowden, Governor

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Frank Orren Lowden

Birthdate: (82)
Birthplace: Sunrise Township, Chisago, Minnesota, United States
Death: March 20, 1943 (82)
Tucson, Pima, Arizona, United States
Place of Burial: Chicago, Cook, Illinois, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Lorenzo Orren Lowden and Nancy Elizabeth Breg
Husband of Florence Sanger Lowden
Father of Florence Miller and Frances Orren Lowden

Occupation: Politician
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Frank O. Lowden, Governor

Frank Orren Lowden (January 26, 1861 – March 20, 1943) was a Republican Party politician from Illinois, who served as the 25th Governor of Illinois and as a United States Representatives from Illinois. He was also a candidate for the Republican presidential nominations in 1920 and 1928.

Early life

Born in Sunrise Township, Minnesota, he lived in Iowa from the age of 7 until his graduation from Iowa State University in 1885. He graduated from Chicago, Illinois's Union College of Law in 1887, and was admitted to the bar the same year. He practised law in Chicago for about 20 years. His wife, Florence, was the daughter of George Pullman. In 1899, he was professor of law at Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois.

Political career

In 1900, Lowden declined the first assistant postmaster-generalship, offered him by President McKinley, whom he had supported. He was a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1900 and 1904, and from 1904 to 1912 was a member of the Republican National Committee. He was also a member of the executive committee in 1904 and 1908. Lowden was elected to the U.S. Representative from Illinois in 1906 to fill the unexpired term of Robert R. Hitt, deceased. He was re-elected for succeeding terms until 1911, when he declined to run for another term.

From 1917 to 1921, he was the Governor of Illinois. While governor, he won wide notice for the major reorganization of state government he spearheaded. He introduced the budget system for state expenditure, thereby reducing the rate of taxation in spite of rising prices. He was a strong supporter of the death penalty, and when in 1918 both houses of the Illinois General Assembly voted to abolish capital punishment, he vetoed the bill. He was energetic in marshalling the resources of his state in support of the United States' World War I effort. In 1917, when the mayor of Chicago refused to interfere with a meeting of the People's Council, an organization accused of pro-Germanism, he ordered out the state troops to prevent the meeting. He favoured woman suffrage and the enforcement of the Volstead Act for war-time prohibition. He was opposed to the League of Nations without reservations, on the ground that it would create a super-state. He gained nationwide stature for his handling of the Chicago Race Riot of 1919 and a simultaneous transit strike in Chicago.

He was a leading candidate for the Republican nomination for president in 1920, but the delegates deadlocked over several ballots between Lowden and General Leonard Wood, resulting in party leaders meeting privately to determine a compromise candidate. Their choice, Warren G. Harding, went on to win the nomination. In the 1924 election, he declined the Republican nomination for vice president. In 1928, he again positioned himself to run for the party's nomination, but he was never much more than a minor threat to front runner Herbert Hoover, who went on to win the convention and the election.

Railroad career

In 1933, Lowden was appointed to be one of three receivers for the bankrupt Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad. He served in this capacity with co-receivers Joseph B. Fleming and James E. Gorman (who had been president of the railroad since 1917) until his death in 1943 in Tucson, Arizona. His remains are buried in Graceland Cemetery in Chicago.


The following are named after Lowden: Camp Lowden Boy Scout Camp, Lowden State Park and Lowden-Miller State Forest, all near his estate outside Oregon, Illinois; the Frank O. Lowden Homes in Chicago; and two Lowden Halls, located on the campus of the Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago and Northern Illinois University in DeKalb.

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Frank O. Lowden, Governor's Timeline

January 26, 1861
Sunrise Township, Chisago, Minnesota, United States
May 4, 1898
Age 37
Chicago, Cook, Illinois, United States
Age 41
Chicago, IL, United States
March 20, 1943
Age 82
Tucson, Pima, Arizona, United States
Chicago, Cook, Illinois, United States