Robert La Follette. the boy of a little husbandman. was born in Dane County. Wisconsin. on 14th June. 1855. He worked as a farm laborer before come ining the University of Wisconsin in 1875. In 1876 La Follette met Robert G. Ingersoll. He subsequently recalled: “Ingersoll had a enormous influence upon me. as so he had upon many immature work forces at the clip. It was non that he changed my beliefs. but he liberated my head. Freedom was what preached: he wanted the bonds off everyplace. He wanted work forces to believe boldly about all things: he demanded rational and moral bravery. ” After graduating in 1879 he set up as a attorney and the undermentioned twelvemonth became District Attorney of Dane County. Elected to Congress as a Republican. La Follette was highly critical of the behavior of some of the party foremans. In 1891. La Follette announced that the province Republican foreman. Senator Philetus Sawyer. had offered him a payoff to repair a tribunal instance.
Over the following six old ages La Follette built up a loyal following within the Republican Party in resistance to the power of the official leading. Proposing a programme of revenue enhancement reform. corporation ordinance and an extension of political democracy. La Follette was elected governor of Wisconsin in 1900. Once in power La Follette employed the academic staff of the University of Wisconsin to outline measures and administrate the Torahs that he introduced. He subsequently recalled: “I made it a policy. in order to convey all the militias of cognition and inspiration of the university more to the service of the people. to name experts from the university wherever possible upon the of import boards of the province – the civil service committee. the railway committee and so on – a relationship which the university has ever encouraged and by which the province has greatly profited. ” La Follette was besides successful in carrying the federal authorities to present much needed reforms.
This included the ordinance of the railroad industry and equalized revenue enhancement appraisal. In 1906 La Follette was elected to the Senate and over the following few old ages argued that his chief function was to “protect the people” from the “selfish interests” . He claimed that the nation’s economic system was dominated by fewer than 100 industrialists. He went on to reason that these work forces so used this power to command the political procedure. La Follette supported the growing of trade brotherhoods as he saw them as a cheque on the power of big corporations.
In 1909 La Follette and his married woman. the women’s rightist. Belle La Follette founded the La Follette’s Weekly Magazine. The diary campaigned for women’s right to vote. racial equality and other progressive causes. Lincoln Steffens argued: “La Follette is the antonym of a rabble-rouser. Capable of ferocious vituperation. his oratory is impersonal ; passionate and emotional himself. his addresss are temperate. Some of them are so laden with facts and such closely knit statements that they demand careful reading. and their consequence is traced to his bringing. which is forceful. emphasized. and intriguing. ”
Art Young. The Masses ( 1917 )
La Follette supported Woodrow Wilson in the 1912 presidential election and approved his societal justness statute law. However. he complained that he was under the control of large concern and was wholly opposed to Wilson’s determination to come in the First World War. Once war was declared La Follette opposed muster and the passing of the Espionage Act. La Follette was accused of lese majesty but was a popular hero with the anti-war motion. Lincoln Steffens was a great protagonist of La Follette: “Governor La Follette was a powerful adult male. who. short but solid. Swift and willful in gesture. in address. in determination. gave the feeling of a tall. a large man… what I saw at my first sight of him was a sincere. fervent adult male who. whether standing. sitting. or in gesture. but the grace of trained strength. both physical and mental…
Rather short in stature. but wide and strong. he had the gift of muscled. nervous power. he kept himself in developing all his life. His earnestness. his unity. his complete devotedness to his ideal. were beyond doubt ; no 1 who heard could surmise his straightforwardness of intent or his bravery. ” La Follette became the campaigner of the Progressive Party in the 1924 presidential election. Although he gained support from trade brotherhoods. persons like Fiorello La Guardia and Vito Marcantonio. the Socialist Party and the Scripps-Howard newspaper concatenation. La Follette and his running spouse. Burton K. Wheeler. merely won one-sixth of the ballots. Robert La Follette died on 18th June. 1925.