One step ahead of the Roosevelts . . .
Wisconsin has a notable record for leading the nation in progressive reforms. For example, in 1854 Wisconsin began efforts to curb the power of Big Business -- 55 years before TR's famous "Trust Busting." In 1856 they had the first kindergarten in America. In 1873 they passed laws to control railroad rates, also a first in America. But the real push for social reform was in 1901 with the election of Governor Robert M. ("Fighting Bob") LaFollette, who spearheaded what became known as the "Wisconsin Idea," soliciting advice from independent social scientists before forming new legislation and establishing state agencies. Decades before FDR's social programs, LaFollette achieved sweeping reforms in industrial regulation, taxation, voters rights, workmen's compensation and unemployment compensation for the state of Wisconsin. Today Wisconsin is leading the nation with new ideas in welfare reform.
Name Origin: Indian. ("gathering of the water")
Area: 56,153 square miles
Statehood: May 29, 1848 (30th)
Nickname: The Badger State
Motto: "Forward "
Famous For: Wisconsin Dells, Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Lake Superior, Mirror Lake State Park, House on the Rock (a 1940s retreat built on a 60-foot rock outcropping overlooking a 450 ft drop) Dairy, Beer, Cranberry Fest, Fresh Water Fishing.