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History and GovernmentCongressional BiographiesWisconsin

Victor Luitpold BERGER

(1860-1929)

BERGER, Victor Luitpold, a Representative from Wisconsin; born in Nieder Rebbach, Austria-Hungary, February 28, 1860; attended the Gymnasia at Leutschau and the universities at Budapest and Vienna; immigrated to the United States in 1878 with his parents, who settled near Bridgeport, Conn.; moved to Milwaukee, Wis., in 1880; taught school 1880-1890; editor of the Milwaukee Daily Vorwaerts 1892-1898; editor of the Wahrheit, the Social Democratic Herald, and the Milwaukee Leader, being publisher of the last named at the time of his death; delegate to the People’s Party Convention at St. Louis in 1896; one of the organizers of the Social Democracy in 1897 and of the Social Democratic Party in 1898, known since 1900 as the Socialist Party; unsuccessful candidate of the Socialist Party for election in 1904 to the Fifty-ninth Congress; elected a member of the charter convention of Milwaukee in 1907, and alderman at large in 1910; elected as a Socialist to the Sixty-second Congress (March 4, 1911-March 3, 1913); presented credentials as a Member-elect to the Sixty-sixth Congress, but the House by a resolution adopted on November 10, 1919, declared him not entitled to take the oath of office as a Representative or to hold a seat as such; having been opposed to the entrance of the United States in the First World War and having written articles expressing his opinion on that question, he was indicted in various places in the Federal courts, tried at Chicago, found guilty, and sentenced by Judge Kenesaw M. Landis in February 1919 to serve twenty years in the Federal penitentiary; this judgment was reversed by the United States Supreme Court in 1921, whereupon the Government withdrew all cases against him in 1922; his election to the Sixty-sixth Congress was unsuccessfully contested by Joseph P. Carney and the seat was declared vacant; presented credentials as a Member-elect to fill the vacancy caused by the action of the House and on January 10, 1920, the House again decided that he was not entitled to a seat in the Sixty-sixth Congress and declined to permit him to take the oath or qualify as a Representative; Henry H. Bodenstab unsuccessfully contested this election, and on February 25, 1921, the House again declared the seat vacant; elected as a Socialist to the Sixty-eighth, Sixty-ninth, and Seventieth Congresses (March 4, 1923-March 3, 1929); unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1928 to the Seventy-first Congress; resumed his editorial work; died in Milwaukee, Wis., August 7, 1929; interment in Forest Home Cemetery.

Bibliography

Miller, Sally M. Victor Berger and the Promise of Constructive Socialism, 1910-1920. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1973.

Source: Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1771-Present

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