Scandinavians in the State House: How Nordic Immigrants Shaped Minnesota Politics
By Klas Bergman

Beginning in the 1850s, thousands of immigrants from Nordic countries settled in Minnesota and quickly established themselves in the political life of their new home. Many came to this country for political reasons and became radicals and activists in Minnesota. Others served as key leaders within the state’s political parties. These Norwegians, Swedes, Danes, Finns and Icelanders first sowed their political seeds at the local level—as town clerks, city councilmen, county commissioners, sheriffs—and then broadened their sights to the state and national realm. Nordic immigrants served as governors, Minnesota state senators and representatives, U.S. congressmen and vice presidents of the United States.
In his third book, Klas Bergman explores who these immigrant politicians were and what drove them to become civically involved so soon after arriving in Minnesota. Profiling the individuals and movements at the forefront of this political activity, at the state and local level, Bergman examines the diverse political philosophies of the immigrant communities and reveals the lasting legacy of Scandinavian politicians in the creation of modern Minnesota—from Nelson and Olson, to Andersen and Carlson, to Humphrey and Mondale.
Klas Bergman, a Swedish-American journalist and author, was born and raised in Stockholm but has spent most of his adult life abroad, mainly in the United States. He is a graduate of Stanford University and has also studied political science at Stockholm University. He spent most of his journalistic career with the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter, where he was a political reporter and a foreign correspondent in Belgrade, Yugoslavia; Rome, Italy; and Washington, DC. After leaving Dagens Nyheter in 1989, he was the East European correspondent, based in Warsaw, Poland, for the Christian Science Monitor, and a foreign policy reporter for Christian Science Monitor Television, based in Washington, DC.


Bergman has written two previous books. The first, “Tredje bordet från höger” (The Third Table From the Right), about the former Yugoslavia and Eastern Europe, was published in Sweden in 1981. In 2012, his second book, “Amerika – drömmarnas land” (America – Land of Dreams) was published in Sweden. The English version of that book, titled “Land of Dreams: A Reporter’s Journey from Sweden to America,” followed in 2013.
Scandinavians in the State House: How Nordic Immigrants Shaped Minnesota Politics was published in April 2017 by the Minnesota Historical Society Press.

Klas Bergman lives with his wife in Silver Spring, Maryland.