1922 Encyclopædia Britannica/La Follette, Robert Marion

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LA FOLLETTE, ROBERT MARION (1855-), American politician, was born on a farm in Primrose township, Dane co., Wis., June 14 1855. He graduated from the university of Wisconsin in 1879, studied law there for one term, and was admitted to the bar in 1880. He began immediately to practise in Madison and served as district attorney for Dane co. for two terms (1880-4). From 1885 to 1891 he was a representative in Congress, and, as a member of the Ways and Means Committee, helped to draft the McKinley Tariff bill. On being defeated for Congress in 1891 he returned to practise in Madison. In 1896 he was a delegate to the Republican National Convention. He was elected governor of Wisconsin in 1901 and was reëlected in 1903 and 1905. It was largely due to him that state laws were passed for taxing railways according to valuation (1903), for nominating all candidates for public office by direct vote of the people (1904), and for regulating the railways in the state through a state commission (1905). He resigned the governorship in 1905 on being elected to the U.S. Senate, and was reëlected for two succeeding terms. He was an unsuccessful candidate for the presidential nomination at the Republican National Convention in 1908. In 1915 he was sponsor in the Senate for the seamen's bill providing for better working conditions and increase of life-saving equipment on board ship. He favoured, in 1916, an embargo on the shipment of arms from America, but supported armed intervention in Mexico. After America's entrance into the World War he was a pronounced and conspicuous pacifist.

He was the author of La Follette's Autobiography (1913).