Wisconsin Idea

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WISCONSIN IDEA. The Wisconsin Idea was the cooperation between experts at the University of Wisconsin and state administrators under the Progressive Party in the early twentieth century. Under the leadership of Robert M. La Follette, Sr., Wisconsin Progressives established investigative commissions in such areas as taxation, railways (and later, public utilities), insurance, civil service, industry, conservation, and highways. The commissions often drew upon the expertise of university specialists, as when the economist Delos O. Kinsman helped to draft the 1911 state income tax law. Some university professors, such as Thomas Adams and Balthasar Meyer, even served as members of the various commissions.


Doan, Edward Newell. The La Follettes and the Wisconsin Idea. New York: Rinehart, 1947.

Thelan, David P. Robert M. La Follette and the Insurgent Spirit. Boston: Little, Brown, 1976.

Louise PhelpsKellogg/a. g.

See alsoProgressive Movement ; Progressive Party, Wisconsin ; Taxation ; University of Wisconsin ; Wisconsin .

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Wisconsin Idea

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