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Henry Wise Wood

Henry Wise Wood (1860-1941) was born in Missouri but in 1905 moved to Alberta and became president of the United Farmers of Alberta.

Wise Wood moved to Alberta like many Americans because of the availability of cheap land in the "last best west". When there, however, he became annoyed at the domination of Canadian politics by Central Canada, often to the detriment of western farmes. Thus he became an important member of the United Farmers of Alberta and in 1916 became the organization's president. Wise Wood became well known as the main theorist and head of the radical Albertan branch of the wave of agrarian discontent that was sweeping Canada at the time. He consistently refused to run for office, but backed the United Farmers when they ran for office in the province and also supported the Progressive Party of Canada federally.

Wise Wood's ideology was one of class conflict. Often accused of being a Bolshevik Wood was nothing of the sort, but did borrow from their vocabulary. He saw how the two main parties the Liberals and the Conservatives were dominated by the industrial interests of central Canada. He did not see this as a problem as he aknowledged that every class should do its utmost to curry favour from the governmentment. What he did see as a problem was that the rural interests were not represented and thus could not get their share of the spoils. While popular to some this extreme position was unpopular in most of Canada and the capture of the Progressive Party by followers of Wood helped destroy the party everywhere outside Alberta.

Wood continued to play an important role in the UFA until 1937 when retired to his farm in Carstairs, Alberta