Middle Border Country

"Many signs mark the middle border country, a frontier nation not a hundred years old, with no connected primitive past, no deep historic shadow, no feudal fumbling of dark gestation. A swift action has taken place, recorded from the first day in diaries, newspapers, pamphlets, in a mass impulse for expression scarcely equaled, except perhaps in the Soviet Union. Expression grew like corn. Newspapers sprang up like whiskey stills. Democratic man wished not to die, but to be perpetuated, to speak in meeting, to write to the papers.

It was a new society, unique, set down green in the wilderness, adapting rapidly to climate, animals, minerals, mutually safeguarding new institutions, sharing prohibitions and extensions of freedom, rearing a new culture from the blend of diverse strands of one idea: that the dignity of man is inalienable, and that by his own effort on this earth he can subjugate nature for the good of all."

Meridel Le Sueur
from The North Star

About the picture: Robert M. La Follette, Sr., campaigning in Cumberland, Wisconsin in 1897. La Follette led the reform faction in Wisconsin's Republican party and in 1900, he was elected governor. Under his leadership, Wisconsin became an outstanding example of progressive government.

See more historic Wisconsin photos.

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