Robert M. La Follette, c. 1900

The years from 1900 through 1905, when he was governor, were stormy for he faced a Stalwart Republican controlled senate that fought his railroad taxation and primary election bills with every weapon they had. These political fights were evidently quite colorful according to Mrs. La Follette's description of the hearings on the Stevens bill which began on February 12. When it finally came up in the assembly, March 19, action was blocked during the entire night session of 'wild carousals and debauchery' such as had never been seen in a Wisconsin legislative hall even in frontier days. One of the committee rooms had been 'made a kind of liquor supply house'. . . An assembly floor 'was a sight to behold. Just in front of the hunter tier of desks was an empty bottle marked "Hunter's Rye". . . In short, witnesses of the all-night session declare that the opponents of the primary election bill on that memorable night did not attack the measure upon its merits, but strove to accomplish its defeat by use of money and drink'". Cf. Robert M. La Follette, by Belle Case La Follette, Vol. I, p. 142.

Image of Robert M. La Follette
From the copy owned by the State Historical Society of Wisconsin Visual Archives: Album 25.44