Viewing James A. Peterson, "Hjalmar, or the Immigrant's Son" (1922).
James Alsak Peterson (1859-1928) was a lawyer by profession. A Republican party activist he was elected to represent District 42, which covered part of Minneapolis, in the 32nd Legislature, serving 1901-1903. He challenged incumbent U.S. Senator Knute Nelson in the Republican primary on June 17, 1918, but was defeated by a wide margin. In the midst of the campaign, he was charged with violating the federal Espionage Act. He was convicted and sentenced to four years in prison by District Court Judge Page Morris, a close friend of Nelson. Unbowed Peterson appealed to the U. S. Supreme Court, which remanded the case for dismissal in October 1920. Peterson v. United States, 254 U.S. 660 (1920). It was dismissed on April 5, 1921.