Jacob John Siemens and the co-operative movement in Southern Manitoba, 1929-1955

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Dyck, Henry.
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This study is a brief survey of a regional co-operative movement between 1929 and 1955. The period was selected because it parallels the career of Jake Siemens, the principal person in Southern Manitoba's co-operative movement, and because the movement reached its apex during these years. The area to be considered encompasses the rural municipalities of Morris, Rhineland and Stanley in Southern Manitoba. The subject of the study is the origin, evolution and consolidation of co-operatives among the Mennonites in Southern Manitoba. Considerable emphasis is placed on Mennonite attitudes and their relationship to co-operative ideology and co-operative institutions. The thesis examines a number of questions. Some analysis is given to the issue of Mennonite participation in co-operatives and the reasons underlying the development of a strong regional co-operative movement in the province. Much of the analysis focuses on the leadership of Jake Siemens because, it is contended, he shaped the character of the movement and gave it a uniqueness. What made this regional co-operative movement unique was its far-reaching co-operative education program. It was not unique in the sense that it was the only program in existence, rather in the way it was organized and implemented. Because the formation of co-operatives among the Mennonites, as elsewhere in Canada, was primarily a response to economic need, the study assesses the overall impact of co-operatives on Southern Manitoba's economy...