La Follette, Robert M. (Robert Marion), 1855-1925

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Robert Marion La Follette Sr. (June 14, 1855 – June 18, 1925), colloquially known as Fighting Bob, was an American lawyer and politician. He represented Wisconsin in both chambers of Congress and served as the Governor of Wisconsin. A Republican for most of his career, he ran for President of the United States as the nominee of his own Progressive Party in the 1924 presidential election. Historian John D. Buenker describes La Follette as "the most celebrated figure in Wisconsin history."

Born and raised in Wisconsin, La Follette won election as the Dane County District Attorney in 1880. Four years later, he was elected to the United States House of Representatives, where he was friendly with party leaders like William McKinley. After losing his seat in the 1890 election, La Follette embraced progressivism and built up a coalition of disaffected Republicans. He sought election as governor in 1896 and 1898 before winning the 1900 gubernatorial election. As governor of Wisconsin, La Follette compiled a progressive record, implementing primary elections and tax reform.

La Follette won re-election in 1902 and 1904, but in 1905 the legislature elected him to the United States Senate. He emerged as a national progressive leader in the Senate, often clashing with conservatives like Nelson Aldrich. He initially supported President William Howard Taft but broke with Taft after the latter failed to push a reduction in tariff rates. He challenged Taft for the Republican presidential nomination in the 1912 presidential election, but his candidacy was overshadowed by that of former President Theodore Roosevelt. La Follette's refusal to support Roosevelt alienated many progressives, and, though La Follette continued to serve in the Senate, he lost his stature as the leader of that chamber's progressive Republicans. La Follette supported some of President Woodrow Wilson's policies, but he broke with the president over foreign policy. During World War I, La Follette was one of the most outspoken opponents of the administration's domestic and international policies.

With the Republican Party and the Democratic Party each nominating conservative candidates in the 1924 presidential election, left-wing groups coalesced behind La Follette's third-party candidacy. With the support of the Socialist Party, farmer's groups, labor unions, and others, La Follette briefly appeared to be a serious threat to unseat Republican President Calvin Coolidge. La Follette stated that his chief goal was to break the "combined power of the private monopoly system over the political and economic life of the American people," and he called for government ownership of railroads and electric utilities, cheap credit for farmers, the outlawing of child labor, stronger laws to help labor unions, and protections for civil liberties. His diverse coalition proved challenging to manage, and the Republicans rallied to claim victory in the 1924 election. La Follette won 16.6% of the popular vote, one of the best third party performances in U.S. history. He died shortly after the presidential election, but his sons, Robert M. La Follette Jr. and Philip La Follette, succeeded him as progressive leaders in Wisconsin.

Archival Resources
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associatedWith Clark, George A., 1864-1918. person
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associatedWith Corscot, John H., 1839-1926. person
associatedWith Crownhart, Charles Henry, 1863-1930. person
associatedWith Crownhart family. family
associatedWith Culbertson, William Smith, 1884-1966. person
associatedWith Cummings, Julia Augusta. person
associatedWith Dahl, Andreas Larsen, 1844-1923. person
associatedWith Dahle, Herman B. (Herman Bjorn), 1855-1920. person
associatedWith Dane County Telephone Company corporateBody
associatedWith Davidson, James O., 1854-1922. person
associatedWith Deinard, Amos Spencer. person
associatedWith Dever, William E. (William Emmett), 1862-1929. person
associatedWith Dugdale, R. I. person
associatedWith Duluth Federated Trades and Labor Assembly (Duluth, Minn.). corporateBody
associatedWith Eber, John W., 1895-1972. person
associatedWith Ekern, Herman Lewis, 1872-1954. person
associatedWith Ely, Richard Theodore, 1854-1943. person
associatedWith Emergency Peace Campaign (U.S.) corporateBody
associatedWith Esch, John J. (John Jacob), 1861-1941. person
associatedWith Evjue, William Theodore, 1882-1970. person
associatedWith Faulkner, E. H. person
associatedWith Favill, Harry Baird. person
associatedWith Fisher, Walter L. (Walter Lowrie), 1862-1935. person
associatedWith Florence Hope Luscomb, 1887-1985 person
associatedWith Frear, James A. (James Archibald), 1861-1939. person
associatedWith Gilbert, Joseph, 1865-1956. person
associatedWith Gill, Thomas H. person
associatedWith Glueck, Sheldon, 1896- person
associatedWith Gross, Edwin J., 1881-1956. person
associatedWith Haines, Lynn, 1876-1929. person
associatedWith Hall, A. R. (Albert R.), 1842-1905. person
associatedWith Hall, Elmer S. person
associatedWith Hand, Learned, 1872-1961 person
associatedWith Hannan, John J., 1866-1946. person
associatedWith Harper, Samuel A. person
associatedWith Harper, Samuel Albert, 1853-1898. person
associatedWith Harrison, Harry P. 1878- , person
associatedWith Haugen, Nils Pederson, 1849-1931. person
associatedWith Hayden, Jay G., 1884-1971 person
associatedWith Hicks, John Donald, 1890-1972. person
associatedWith Hillquit, Morris, 1869-1933. person
associatedWith Hoard, W. D. (William Dempster), 1836-1918. person
associatedWith Hooper, Jessie Jack, 1865-1935. person
associatedWith Huber, Henry A., 1869-1933. person
associatedWith Hudson, Manley Ottmer, 1886- person
associatedWith James, Ada Lois, 1876-1952. person
correspondedWith Johnston, Mercer Green, 1868-1954 person
associatedWith Jones, Richard Lloyd, 1873-1963. person
associatedWith Jones, Stiles P., 1862-1920. person
correspondedWith Judson, William V. (William Voorhees), 1865-1923. person
associatedWith JUSTINE (WISE) POLIER, 1903-1987 person
associatedWith Keene, Francis Bowler, 1856-1945. person
associatedWith Kent, William, 1864-1928. person
associatedWith Krampikowsky, Otto J. person
associatedWith Kuehl, Frank W., 1894- , person
spouseOf La Follette, Belle Case, 1859-1931 person
memberOf LaFollette family family
parentOf La Follette, Fola, 1882-1970 person
parentOf La Follette, Mary Josephine, 1899-1988 person
parentOf La Follette, Philip Fox, 1897-1965. person
associatedWith LaFollette, Robert Hoath, 1900- person
parentOf La Follette, Robert M. (Robert Marion), 1895-1953 person
associatedWith Lamont, Thomas W. (Thomas William), 1870-1948. person
associatedWith Lenroot, Irvine Luther, 1869-1949. person
correspondedWith Lindsey, Ben B. (Ben Barr), 1869-1943. person
associatedWith Lissner, Meyer, 1871-1930 person
associatedWith Lissner, Meyer, b. 1871. person
associatedWith Loe, Kelley, 1887- person
associatedWith Luchsinger, John, b. 1839. person
associatedWith Luscomb, Florence, 1887- person
associatedWith MacKenzie, Frederick William, 1883-1928. person
associatedWith Madison, Charles Allan. person
associatedWith Madison Club (Madison, Wis.) corporateBody
associatedWith Madison Club (Madison, Wis.) corporateBody
associatedWith Manahan, James, 1866-1932. person
associatedWith Margulies, Herbert F. person
associatedWith Mauthe, William, 1873-1942. person
associatedWith McGovern, Francis Edward, 1866-1946 person
associatedWith McGovern, Francis E. (Francis Edward), 1866-1946. person
associatedWith McKinley, William, 1843-1901. person
associatedWith Meyer, Balthasar Henry, 1866-1954. person
associatedWith Middleton, George, 1880-1967. person
associatedWith Milwaukee Free Press. corporateBody
associatedWith Minor, Edward Sloman, 1840-1924. person
associatedWith Montague, Andrew Jackson, 1862-1937. person
associatedWith Montgomery, F. W. person
associatedWith Mulvey, Daniel Terrance. person
associatedWith Murfin, James O. (James Orin), 1875-1940. person
associatedWith Murphy, Frank, 1890-1949 person
associatedWith Murphy, Jerre C. person
associatedWith National American Woman Suffrage Association. corporateBody
associatedWith Nelson, Knute, 1843-1923. person
associatedWith Newcombe, Alfred W. person
associatedWith North, Mary S., person
associatedWith Olbrich, Michael B., 1881-1929. person
associatedWith Osborn, Chase S. (Chase Salmon), b. 1860 person
associatedWith Owen, Ralf Hillemann. person
associatedWith Page, Thomas Walker, 1866-1937. person
associatedWith Parker, W. N. person
associatedWith Parsons, Frank, 1854-1908. person
associatedWith Pelham, Fred, person
associatedWith Pennsylvania Railroad Company. corporateBody
associatedWith People's Legislative Service. corporateBody
associatedWith People's Legislative Service Records corporateBody
associatedWith Philipp, Emanuel Lorenz, 1861-1925. person
associatedWith Pinchot, Gifford, 1865-1946 person
associatedWith Pitner, Thomas J. person
associatedWith Polier, Justine Wise, 1903-1987. person
associatedWith Poore, Benjamin Perley, 1820-1887. person
associatedWith Progressive. corporateBody
associatedWith Progressive, Inc. corporateBody
associatedWith Pugh, Arthur. person
associatedWith Quigley, Walter Eli, 1890-1962 person
associatedWith Quigley, Walter Eli, 1890-1962. person
associatedWith Ralston, Craig (John Craig), 1879-1954. person
associatedWith Rawleigh, William Thomas, 1870-1951. person
associatedWith Redpath Lyceum Bureau. corporateBody
associatedWith Reinsch, Paul Samuel, 1869-1923. person
associatedWith Republican Party (U.S. : 1854- ) corporateBody
associatedWith Republican Party (Wis.) corporateBody
associatedWith Richard Brown, Scandrett 1891-1969. person
associatedWith Richberg, Donald R. (Donald Randall), 1881-1960. person
associatedWith Richmond, T. C. (Thomas C.), 1846-1920. person
associatedWith Risser, Frederic E., 1900-1971. person
associatedWith Roe, Gilbert E. (Gilbert Ernstein), 1865-1929. person
associatedWith Roe, Gwyneth King, 1868-1968. person
associatedWith Rogers, Alfred Thomas, 1873-1948. person
associatedWith Roosevelt, Theodore, 1858-1919. person
associatedWith Rosa, Charles D., 1870-1959. person
associatedWith Rosenfels, Irwin S., d. 1935. person
associatedWith Ross, Edward Alsworth, 1866-1951. person
associatedWith Sageng, Ole O., 1872-1963. person
associatedWith Sauthoff, Harry, 1879-1966. person
associatedWith Sawyer, Philetus, 1816-1900. person
associatedWith Sayre, Wallace Stanley, 1905-1972. person
associatedWith Schade, Clay Grimshaw. person
associatedWith Schade, Clay Grimshaw. person
associatedWith Schubring, E. J. B. person
associatedWith Siebecker, Robert George, 1854-1922. person
associatedWith Sigman, Samuel, 1899-1976. person
associatedWith Skogmo, George B., 1882- . person
associatedWith Smalley, P. J. (Palemon Jared), 1842-1912. person
associatedWith Smith, Alfred H. (Alfred Horace Greeley), 1870-1949. person
associatedWith Smith, Joe, 1872-1962. person
associatedWith Smith, Peter J., 1867-1947. person
associatedWith Spooner, John C. (John Coit), 1843-1919. person
associatedWith St. Arnold, Dorothy, ca. 1926- person
associatedWith Steffens, Lincoln, 1866-1936. person
associatedWith Stephenson, Isaac, 1829-1918. person
associatedWith Stirn, Ernest William, 1895- person
associatedWith Stone, James A., 1856-1946. person
associatedWith Stout, Charles F., 1866- . person
associatedWith St. Paul Dispatch-Pioneer Press (Saint Paul, Minn.). corporateBody
associatedWith St. Paul Dispatch-Pioneer Press (Saint Paul, Minn.). corporateBody
associatedWith Strange, John, 1852-1923. person
associatedWith Swenson, Magnus, 1854-1936. person
associatedWith Taft, William H. (William Howard), 1857-1930. person
associatedWith Teigan, Henry G. (Henry George), 1881-1941. person
associatedWith Thomas, A. F. (Alsen Franklin), 1862-1943. person
associatedWith Thomas, Kirby. person
associatedWith Tugwell, Rexford G. (Rexford Guy), 1891- person
memberOf United States. Congress. House of Representatives corporateBody
memberOf United States. Congress. Senate corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on Foreign Relations. corporateBody
alumnusOrAlumnaOf University of Wisconsin--Madison corporateBody
associatedWith Upham, William, 1792-1853. person
associatedWith Upham, William H. person
associatedWith Van Hise, Charles Richard, 1857-1918. person
associatedWith Vilas, William F. (William Freeman), 1840-1908. person
correspondedWith Villard, Oswald Garrison, 1872-1949 person
associatedWith Waite, Edward F. (Edward Foote), 1860-1958. person
associatedWith Wefald, Knud, 1869-1936. person
associatedWith Weinberger, Harry, 1888- person
correspondedWith Weyl, Walter E. (Walter Edward), 1873-1919. person
associatedWith Wheeler, Burton K. (Burton Kendall), 1882-1975, person
associatedWith Whittet, Lawrence C., 1871-1954. person
associatedWith Wilkinson, Albert T., person
associatedWith Williams, John Skelton, 1865-1926. person
associatedWith Wisconsin. Governor (1901-1906 : La Follette) corporateBody
associatedWith Wisconsin. Secretary of State. corporateBody
associatedWith Works, John D. (John Downey), 1847-1928. person
associatedWith Works, John Downey person
associatedWith Yoder, Fred R. (Fred Roy), b. 1888. person
associatedWith Zimmerman, Albert G. person
associatedWith Zimmerman, Albert G., 1862-1935. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Madison WI US
District of Columbia DC US
Primrose WI US
Subject
Progressivism (United States politics)
Railroad law
Legislators
Patriotism
Indians of North America
Street addresses
Elections
Menominee Indians
Press, Political party
World War, 1914-1918--Public opinion
Lawyers
Occupation
Governors--Wisconsin
Senators, U.S. Congress--Wisconsin
Newspaper publishers
Farmers
Lawyers
Function

Person

Birth 1855-06-14

Death 1925-06-18

Male

Americans

English

Information

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Ark ID: w6rs2nnq

SNAC ID: 84482195