From the Author
They could have worked together for commonsense solutions,but as historian Michael P. Malone says, "legislators allowed partisanship toovercome good sense and disgraced themselves." (Malone, 198)
The first legislature was really a joke because sensiblemembers could not step forward. The five contested seats resulted in twoseparate Houses of Representatives forming and conducting meetings. Howeverludicrous it may sound, the two groups met for the full ninety-day session.
The Senate wasn't much better, and members there were evenworse. The Democrats refused to take their seats, which resulted in warrantsbeing issued for their arrest. One member fled to Idaho so authorities couldn'tget to him.
When Montana gained statehood in 1889 they also got twoseats in the "Millionaire's Club," as most called the U.S. Senate at the time.
Things had to be done if Montana wanted to be representedin Washington, for it was the legislature, not the people, that chose thesenators. Cooler heads from both parties met in private, and they chose WilburFiske Sanders and Thomas C. Power to represent the Democrats and William A.Clark and Martin Maginnis to represent the Republicans.
Wheeling and dealing was done behind the scenes, and themen agreed on...none of them. Instead they sent all four men to Washington,hoping the U.S. Senate would do what Montana could not. As should have beenexpected, the Republican-controlled Senate selected the two Republicans andsent the Democrats Clark and Maginnis back to Montana.
It would prove the end of Martin Maginnis' political career.He'd finished serving as Montana's lone representative in Washington in 1885. Hetried again for the seat in 1890, but lost to William Dixon. Instead he wasgiven the Commissioner of Mineral Land of Montana position, which he held until1893.
He stayed in Montana until 1915 when his health forced himto warmer climes. He moved to Los Angeles, California, where he died on March27, 1919. He was 77 years old.
There'd be plenty more for the politicians in Helena tofight about, however. The 1889 election had failed to secure a permanentcapital for the new state, and both Clark and Daly saw this as theiropportunity to put their mark on Montana in the 1890s.