Wisconsin History Day By Day

Related Web Sites:
The Memoirs of Nelson Dewey, the State's First Governor

Nelson Dewey (Wikipedia)

Read More About It

"A Guide to Stonefield" by David Paul Nord

"The Shadow in the Glass" by August Derleth



Interesting Fact:

It is said that Dewey had a dull personality with no gift for public speaking.

Study Questions:

  • What did Dewey mean by natural elements?
  • What were reasons why Wisconsin was said to have a unique geographical location?
  • What legislation was passed during Dewey's term that helped Wisconsin toward prosperity?

    U.S. historical events that occurred on June 5:

    1968: Robert F. Kennedy is assassinated in California while campaigning in the presidential primary.

  • June 5

    June 5, 1848: Governor Nelson Dewey delivered his first message to the new state Legislature. Dewey remarked, "Wisconsin possesses the natural elements, fostered by the judicious system of legislation, to become one of the most populous and prosperous States of the American Union."

    Wisconsin Argus, June 13, 1848


    Fellow Citizens of the Senate,
    and Assembly:

    You have convened under the provisions of the Constitution of the State of Wisconsin, to perform as representatives of the people, the important duties contemplated by that instrument.

    The first session of the legislature of a free people, after assuming the political identity of a sovereign state is an event of no ordinary character in its history, and will be fraught with consequences of the highest importance to its future welfare and prosperity.

    Wisconsin possesses the natural elements, fostered by a judicious system of legislation, to become one of the most populous and prosperous states of the American Union. With a soil unequalled in fertility, and productive of all the necessary comforts of life, rich in mineral wealth, with commercial advantages unsurpassed by any inland state, possessing extensive manufacturing facilities, with a salubrious climate and peopled with a population enterprising, industrious, and intelligent, the course of the state of Wisconsin must be onward, until she ranks among the first of the states of the great west.

    It is under the most favorable auspices that the state of Wisconsin has taken her position among the family of states. With a population numbering nearly one quarter of a million, and rapidly increasing, free from the incubus of a state debt, and rich in the return yielded as the reward of labor in all the branches of industrial pursuits, our state occupies an enviable position abroad that is highly gratifying to the pride of our people.

    The agricultural, mining, lumbering, commercial, and manufacturing advantages which Wisconsin presents to the enterprising immigrant, the liberality and equality of her laws, has made her not only the home of the American citizen, but she has become the favored asylum and retreat of the oppressed of other nations. In whatever view our new state is regarded, the prospect that is spread before us is bright and promising. We possess every advantage necessary to render an enterprising and intelligent people happy, contented, and wealthy.

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