Former Montana Sen. Burton K. Wheeler. Credit: Library of Congress

Burton K. Wheeler was an original maverick. A “Political Hellraiser,” according to a new full-length biography of the former Montana Senator by historian Marc Johnson.

Johnson’s writing on politics and history has appeared in numerous regional and national publications, including the New York Times, the California Journal of Politics and Policy, Montana – The Magazine of Western History and The Blue Review, the policy journal of Boise State University. His blog and podcast on history and politics is entitled Many Things Considered.

Burton K. Wheeler, or “B.K.” as he was known to his friends, was a champion of organized labor, a one-time vice-presidential candidate on the Progressive Party ticket, an anti-war, pro-New Deal Democrat, and a one-time ally of President Franklin D. Roosevelt who later spearheaded opposition to Roosevelt’s attempt to pack the U.S. Supreme Court.

Wheeler was fiercely independent and defied conventional stereotypes of Washington, D.C. politicians.

Author and historian Marc Johnson and longtime political reporter Chuck Johnson join host John Adams to discuss the influential and controversial senator.

Marc Johnson, author of “Political Hellraiser: The Life and Times of Senator Burton K. Wheeler of Montana,” in the Montana Free Press podcast studios. Credit: John Adams / MTFP
Former Lee Newspapers capitol reporter Chuck Johnson.

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Montana Free Press was founded by veteran award-winning investigative and political reporter John S. Adams. John was formerly the Capital Bureau Chief of the Great Falls Tribune and a correspondent for USA TODAY. John is known as a dogged investigator and the host of the MT Lowdown podcast whose unbiased reporting has changed the shape of Montana politics. Contact John at, or follow him on Twitter.