Wisconsin History Day By Day

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Robert M. La Follette

Robert Marion La Follette

Read More About It:

"Robert La Follette, Progressive" by James Clark

"Robert Marion La Follette" by Fred Greenbaum

"Fighting Bob La Follette: The Righteous Reformer" by Nancy Unger


slush funds

Study Questions:

  • La Follette did not win the presidential election in 1924. Did he try again in four years? Why not?
  • La Follette was considered a "third-party" candidate. What does that mean? Have any "third-party" candidates ever won a presidential election?
  • What was the platform of the Progressive Party? What eventually happened to the Progressive Party?

    U.S. historical events that occurred on November 4:

    1842: Abraham Lincoln married Mary Todd
    1952: Dwight Eisenhower was elected president
    1979: The Iran hostage crisis began


    November 4, 1924: The presidential election results were not good news for Robert La Follette and the Progressive Party. La Follette received 4,822,856 votes compared to 15,725,016 for Republican Calvin Coolidge and 8,385,586 for Democrat John Davis.

    The Capital Times, Nov. 5, 1924

    La Follette Issues Statement

    SENATOR LA FOLLETTE issued the following statement this afternoon:
    "The election of Calvin Coolidge by a landslide is apparent from the returns now in. The American people have chosen to retain in power the reactionary Republican administration with its record of corruption and subservience to the dictates of organized monopoly.
    "The progressives will not be dismayed by this result. We have just begun to fight. There can be no compromise on the fundamental issues for which we stand. The loss of this one battle in the age long struggle of the masses against the privileged few is but an incident. I call upon all progressives to close ranks and gird themselves for the next battle. We have not been defeated but overwhelmed for the time being by the use of slush funds, intimidation, technical obstruction, and abuse of power in securing a place for independent electors on the ballot and in the count and return of the vote....
    "Until more complete returns are available it is impossible to forecast what the reaction of this result will be upon the progressives with regard to the future. But in so far as I am personally concerned I am enlisted for life in the struggle to break the combined power of the private monopoly system over government and to restore it to the people."

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