Hazen Pingree was born on August 30, 1840 in Denmark, Maine. He left school at the age of 14 to go to work. Pingree worked as a hand in a cotton mill and then a shoe factory until the time he enlisted in Company F of the 1st Massachutes Heavy Artillery. He fought for the union in the Civil War. Suring this time he was captured, (POW) and sent to Andersonville prison. It was there that Pingree heard about Detroit’s bustling factories by Michigan soldiers.

After serving his country he moved to Detroit, and worked as a clerk, cobbler. In 1866 he partnered with George Smith to form Pingree & Smith, the largest shoe making company in the Midwest. He also became friend with John Bagley, who was one of Detroit’s biggest political names. This is the man who got Pingree interested in politics.

Pingree was known as energetic and tough as nails, a man’s man. Pingree took to the people of Detroit to make their city great. It was here that he became mayor of the city. The action Pingree took to reform the city of Detroit was amazing. He was a politician that genuinely cared for his people. Before Pingree, the city leaders didn’t really care about the people that were suffering. The city of Detroit needed change and needed it now. That’s where Pingree steps in. He wanted nothing more than to take care of the people that were poor and out of work. He would expose shady practices in the government of Detroit. He lowered utility rates, built a municipal electric plant that saved Detroit 2 million dollars a year, lowered taxes for the common man, etc.

He was such a great man that he was willing to sell his personal belongings for the greater good. He wanted everyone to be taken care of and not have to worry about what they were going to eat. He provided jobs, food, he even set up vacant land so that the people of Detroit could grow food. This is the type of government that we need today. Someone that actually cares about the people and isn’t afraid to get involved.

In my opinion it is the governments job to fix things when they are broken. I also think that they need to listen to the people as Pingree did. Who knows what we need better than ourselves. It seems that our political system has gotten trapped by the financial gains/losses of it all and they have forgotten about the people. Pingree was there to help in any way he could. Is it likely that Trump will sell his personal belongings to help the poor, I doubt it?



Hazen S. Pingree Monument — Historic Detroit. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://historicdetroit.org/building/hazen-s-pingree-monument/

Rubenstein, B. A., & Ziewacz, L. E. (2014). 8 & 9. In Michigan : A History of the Great Lakes State (5th ed.). Wiley.