The Birth of “Fighting Bob”

14 June marks the birthday of one of Wisconsin’s most famous sons, Robert M. Lafollette (1855 – 1925). Lafollette served as both Governor and US Senator from Wisconsin, and launched an independent bid for the Presidency in 1924, garnering 17% of the vote, along with 11 electoral votes. He finished first in one state and second in 11 other states, making it one of the strongest third party bids in US history. Lafollette was known as a leading voice on issues of workers rights and peace over militarism.  A 1982 survey asking historians to rank the “ten greatest Senators in the nation’s history” based on “accomplishments in office” and “long range impact on American history,” placed LaFollette first, tied with Henry Clay. The UW-Madison school for public affairs is named after him.