The Kirkwood Institute
The Kirkwood Institute is a conservative public-interest law firm dedicating to promoting the rights of Iowans. We focus on personal liberty, including economic and property rights, constitutional governance, and the separation of powers. We are nonprofit and nonpartisan.
The Kirkwood Institute is a 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit. Our most recent form 990N may be read here.
Who was Samuel Kirkwood?
Our namesake is Gov. Samuel Kirkwood, Iowa's Civil War governor. An early proponent of the Republican Party in Iowa, he was a state legislator before being elected governor in 1859. He gained recognition for his efforts to raise soldiers and material support for the Union war effort. He was also a critic of an early form of corporate welfare, the 19th Century practice of railroads enticing Iowa cities to borrow lavish sums to finance the construction of rail lines. When these railroads went bankrupt (as they often did), taxpayers were left holding the debt for the project. Gov. Kirkwood is remembered today as one of Iowa's most outstanding leaders.