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Wisconsin Scandinavians and Progressivism, 1900-1950
    by David L. Brye (Volume 27: Page 163)

“Need of Study of foreign groups ... Votes by district.
Why are Nor[wegians] rep[ublican], Irish dem[ocrats].” {1}

- FREDERICK JACKSON TURNER

Frederick Jackson Turner is well known for his I emphasis on the impact of the frontier and of sections on the development of America. His entry in his college Commonplace Book, however, indicates at least an awareness of the relationship between ethnicity and politics. Later he called for “detailed studies of the correlations between party votes, by precincts, wards, etc., soils, nationalities and state-origins of the voter, assessment rolls, denominational groups, illiteracy, etc. What kind of people tend to be Whigs, what Democrats, Abolitionists, etc.” {2}

Although a few historians have examined the political side of ethnicity - including Turner’s student Joseph Schafer in a much-ignored article on “Who Elected Lincoln?” - none did so in a systematic way until the 1960s. {3} The subject was first treated in Lee Bensons study of Jacksonian democracy and in Samuel Hays’s work on the 1890s. More recently these studies have been continued by Frederick Luebke’s Immigrants and Politics, Michael Holt’s Forging a Majority, Paul Kleppner’s The Cross of Culture, Richard Jensen’s The Winning of the Midwest, Ron Formisano’s The Birth of Mass Political Parties, and Samuel McSeveney’s The Politics of Depression. A description of politics in the nineteenth century along ethnocultural lines has thus begun to take shape. {4} Generally, these scholars saw pietistic, evangelical Yankees and their allies dominating the Whig and Republican parties, while liturgical, ritualistic, non-evangelical groups formed the bulk of the Democratic party. They emphasized alien voting, prohibition, Sunday Blue Laws, language use in the schools, and other cultural issues rather than economic matters in explaining which way groups arranged themselves on the political spectrum.

None of these authors, however, and very few others, carried their research beyond 1900. The study on which this article is based was an effort to investigate ethnic groups and their voting from 1900 to 1950. {5} Were Norwegians in Wisconsin in fact as Republican as Turner saw them? How about Swedes, Danes, and Finns? Did their voting behavior change over the first fifty years of the twentieth century? How did each of these groups respond to the Progressive movement led by Robert M. La Follette, Sr., to the involvement of the United States in two world wars, to the great depression and New Deal of the 1930s, and to a new Progressive movement led by La Follette’s two sons? Finally, where did they align themselves as they approached the mid-twentieth century?

Any quantitative historian must be careful in specifying his methodology. For this study, the writer used all Wisconsin voting units - rural townships, villages, cities, and wards - that were dominated by a single ethnic group and that did not change significantly in characteristics over the fifty-year period under consideration.

The main source for identifying such voting units was a retabulation of the 1905 Wisconsin state census carried out under the auspices of the Works Progress Administration in the late 1930s. {6} The study listed all heads of households in that census according to a number of characteristics, one of which was country or state of parents’ birth. By combining these two categories, a fair index of ethnicity was obtained for each voting unit in the state. For example, the township (and village) of Coon in Vernon County was settled in the 1850s by Norwegian immigrants. According to the published 1905 state census, only 29 per cent of Coon’s 1,438 residents were born in Norway with 70 per cent listed as native-born. However, the retabulation of that census shows that 95 per cent of the township’s 214 family heads were born in Norway or had parents who were.

Generally used in this study were the rural townships that were at least 70 per cent agricultural with a minimum from one ethnic group varying from 38 per cent for the Danes to 60 per cent for the Norwegians. Minimums for villages and cities varied from 30 per cent to 50 per cent and for urban wards from 30 to 35. In addition, immigrant, church, and area histories - as well as church, state, and local records - were consulted both to verify the ethnicity of the units selected and, even more importantly, to check the persistence of ethnic identification through the fifty-year period. {7}
The Scandinavian voting units listed in Table I were used for all or most of the fifty-year period:

Table I
Scandinavian Voting Units, 1900 to 1950 {8}

 
Rural Townships
Villages and Cities
Urban Wards
Under 2,500
2,500- 10,000
Norwegian
35
19
1
4
Swedish
14
5
1
1
Danish
8
3
1
4
Finnish
12
0
0
0


Although the city of Stoughton was solidly Norwegian, the other cities over 2,500 - Swedish Park Falls and Danish Waupaca - in addition to being samples of a classification, were also minimally representative of their ethnic group. The Norwegian wards were in Eau Claire and La Crosse, the Swedish ward in Ashland, and the Danish wards in Racine. They, too, were less “pure” ethnically than the rural and small-town units.

Wisconsin emerged from the Civil War as a marginal Republican state. After losing the governorship and state legislature to Granger-backed Democrats in 1873, Republicans maintained control of the state until the 1890 election. In that year, aided by unfavorable public reaction to a compulsory education bill that also required the use of the English language in public and parochial schools (the Bennett law), Democrats captured the governorship and legislature by comfortable margins which carried over into the voting in 1892. In these two elections, Catholics became even more firm in their allegiance to the Democratic party; German Lutherans increased their normally Democratic margin, and Norwegians and Swedes, concerned about language use but unable to bring themselves to vote for the “Catholic party,” stayed home from the polls. {9}

The gains made by the Democrats, however, proved short-lived. The combination of the depression of the 1890s and the candidacy of William Jennings Bryan served to return old voters to the Republican party along with enough new recruits to move Wisconsin again out of the marginal ranks safely into those of the Republicans. This state of affairs would persist until a new depression and the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt would realign politics and return Wisconsin to the status of two-party competition.

The apparent single-party dominance during the first part of the twentieth century masked a very real conflict within the state for control of the Republican party. The struggle between the La Follette Progressives and GOP stalwarts would be settled finally by the exit of the La Follette sons from the Republican fold to form their own third party in 1934.

The twentieth century began with the entrance of Robert La Follette into the governor’s office in Wisconsin. To describe his political efforts and the responses to them is to describe much of the state’s politics for the next twenty-five years. After being elected and twice reelected governor, La Follette was sent to the United States Senate in 1905. There he served until his death in 1925, making two major efforts for the presidency: He ran in several primaries in 1912 and as a third-party Progressive candidate in 1924.

Conflicts within the Progressive party over state policies, the loyalty issue during World War I, and the personality of La Follette helped the new leader of the conservatives, railroad magnate Emanuel Philipp, to take over the governor’s office in 1914 and to hold it until 1920. In that year, he was replaced by Progressive John J. Blaine. By 1926, the liberal movement was again being fragmented until it was brought together by the pressures of Democratic resurgence in the 1930s. In 1934, the Progressives finally left the Republican party to form their own third party under the leadership of La Follette’s two sons, Robert, Jr., and Philip.

The Democrats remained definitely a minority party throughout the first part of the period under study; usually they were more conservative than the Republicans. After a brief period of success from 1912 to 1914 - during which the state went for Woodrow Wilson and elected a Democratic senator - the party was destroyed by the impact of World War I. It was even displaced by 1918 as the minority party in the state legislature, trailing the Socialists for an entire decade. During this time, it reached its nadir of a single seat in the state assembly and no senate seat in the sessions of 1923 and 1925.

The success of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Democrats at the national level in 1932 was also reflected in the revival of their party in Wisconsin. In that year, Democrats captured the governorship for Albert Schmedeman and fifty-nine of one hundred seats in the state assembly. Unable to retain a majority, they dropped to minority status behind the Progressives in 1934 and 1936 and to a spot well below the Republicans from 1938 to beyond the endpoint of this study. Democratic votes for state offices, however, moved Wisconsin into the marginal Republican category (50 per cent to 55 per cent) from the 1940s until the 1960s, when the state became marginally Democratic. {10}

Before examining the response of Wisconsin’s Scandinavians to all of this political activity, it is necessary to describe their orientation as of 1900. The elections of 1898, in which Republicans were led by stalwart Edward Scofield, and of 1900, in which Robert La Follette made his first effort for the governorship, have been chosen as the benchmarks of political division prior to the advent of Progressivism. In fact, 1900 serves as the most neutral year, a time when La Follette’s candidacy represented a unified effort on the part of the Republican party; La Follette was then muting his insurgency and the Republican stalwarts were giving him full support. In 1898, La Follette and his followers had called for resistance to Scofield’s candidacy with moderate success. Scofield barely won in that year with 52.6 per cent of the vote. Two years later, La Follette increased the Republican share of the vote to 59.8 per cent, only 0.3 per cent behind President McKinley’s reelection margin.{11} Table II indicates the lineup of Scandinavian voters in the two elections:

Table II
Republican Gubernatorial Vote, 1898 and 1900

 
Number of units
1898 Median
1900 Median
1898 to 1900 Change
Norwegian
   Rural
   Urban to 2,500
   2,500-10,000
   City wards

29
7
1
4

75%
68%
71%
57%

89%
86%
86%
70%

14%
18%
15%
13%
Swedish
   Rural
   Urban to 2,500
   2,500-10,000
   City wards

9
1
1*
1

88%
85%
-
60%

87%
84%
57%*
76%

-1%
-1%
-
16%
Danish
   Rural
   2,500-10,000
   City wards

4
1
2**

64%
79%
-

69%
83%
57%**

5%
4%
-
Finnish
   Rural

2

72%

90%

18%
   *Incorporated in 1901, data for 1902 election.
   **Boundaries established in 1904, data for 1902 election.


Settled in compact communities, well-established by 1870, the Norwegians had rapidly overcome barriers of isolation and language to seek an active role in Wisconsin politics. {12} Merle Curti has attributed this involvement at the local level to contact with Yankee neighbors long familiar with democratic institutions. {13} Necessity no doubt also had its effect - a community which was one hundred per cent Norwegian had to provide its own leadership, both for internal reasons and, even more, to represent the community to the outside world.

In any case, Norwegians participated early in politics - and soon moved into the ranks of the Republican party. The high point of Norwegian migration, during the 1850s and 1860s, corresponded with the rise of that party to a position of power. The oft-repeated suggestion - that the allegiance to the GOP was the result of an abhorrence of slavery and of a desire to prove oneself a good citizen by rallying to the champions of the Union - is probably less important than a negative Norwegian response to the Democrats. {14} The latter were, after all, the party of the Irish, Germans, and other Catholics. Both Jensen and Kleppner in their studies of the 1890s stress the pietism of Norwegians, especially those from the Hauge Synod of the Lutheran church, as a major factor leading to their support of the Republican claim to moral leadership. {15} Olaf M. Norlie, in his encyclopedic account of Norwegian immigration, listed all known immigrant officeholders to 1925. Nine of twelve governors of Norwegian background had been Republican; so also had eighteen of twenty-two congressmen, and six of seven United States senators. {16} Laurence M. Larson, then a young principal of a struggling Lutheran academy in Scandinavia, Waupaca County, reported being ostracized for speaking to a Democratic meeting in that tightly knit Norwegian community. {17}

In 1898, the twenty-nine Norwegian townships under consideration in this study cast a median Republican vote of 75 per cent; seven villages and cities under 2,500, a vote of 68 per cent; Stoughton, in Dane County, the lone entrant in the 2,500-plus category, a 71 per cent Republican vote; and the four city wards in Eau Claire and La Crosse, a vote of 57 per cent. In this election though generally well above the statewide vote, Norwegians found themselves more receptive than any other group to the boycott efforts of La Follette. This fact becomes clear when one examines the results two years later. In 1900, with La Follette heading the ticket, the Republicans jumped an average of 15 per cent among all Norwegian voting units. The favorable response to La Follette among Norwegians was already apparent in 1900, even before the issues of Progressivism had been fully defined.


Swedish settlers in Wisconsin came both later and in lesser numbers than the Norwegians: only some 600 Swedes were residents at the time of the Civil War. They concentrated in the northwestern part of the state, an extension, as it were, of the much larger Minnesota Swedish settlement immortalized by Wilhelm Moberg in The Immigrants. {18}

While lagging behind Norwegians in numbers, the Swedes in 1898 yielded to no one in their Republicanism. The nine Swedish townships on the list in that year had a median Republican vote of 88 per cent. Grantsburg in Burnett County, the lone Swedish village in 1898, showed an 85 per cent vote for the GOP. The single Swedish ward in Ashland, a port city on Lake Superior, ranked lowest at 60 per cent.

In 1900, Swedish adherence to Republicanism actually declined while the rest of the state increased its allegiance. Again the ward in Ashland operated differently from the other Swedish units, moving in the direction of progressive Republicanism to cast 76 per cent of its vote for La Follette. The city of Park Falls in Price County, incorporated in 1901, cast a 57 per cent Republican vote in its maiden political venture the following year.

Kleppner suggests that the intensity of Republicanism among the Swedish immigrants resulted from their high level of pietism. This political affiliation received continual reinforcement from the Lutheran clergy and from the Swedish-language press. George Stephenson stresses the general conservatism of Swedish immigrants, tracing part of this tendency to the fact that the typical Swedish-American pastor was “undoubtedly one of the most orthodox conservative Protestant ministers in the country.” With few exceptions the editors of Swedish-language newspapers were also conservative and Republican. They identified the Democratic party with slavery, corruption, and the Catholics: “However much the newspapers disagreed with one another on other points, they maintained allegiance to the Republican party and upheld conservative political principles.” {19}


Danish settlers in Wisconsin began to arrive in the late 1840s. More dispersed and more urban than their fellow Scandinavians, heavily concentrated in the Lake Michigan industrial city of Racine, they did form a few compact communities throughout the state. {20}

The Danes were less pietistic and less Republican than other Scandinavians. {21} They must be rated as generally Republican in 1898, with a median ranking in four Danish townships of 64 per cent. Four other townships with embryo villages were somewhat more Republican, with a median of 70 per cent. The city of Waupaca topped the list with a 79 per cent GOP ranking. By 1900, the pattern had shifted slightly in a Republican direction: the four purely rural townships had a 69 per cent median and the four other townships had moved up to 74 per cent. The city of Waupaca again headed the list at 83 per cent Republican.

The two wards in Racine cannot be used in this study before the election of 1904. In that year, they cast votes of 53 per cent and 61 per cent for the GOP, with significant minorities favoring the Social Democrats. This was a strictly urban Danish phenomenon; the rural townships cast only scattered votes for Socialist candidates.


The Finns, the last Scandinavian group to immigrate to Wisconsin, were just beginning to appear in sufficient numbers in 1898 to allow for measurement of their response to the state’s politics. Coming to America primarily in the years from 1880 to 1920 to work in mines, logging camps, and on the docks of the Great Lakes, they later turned to farming. They concentrated their settlement in the eighteen northernmost counties of Wisconsin, the “cutover” area. In 1905, 87 per cent of the state’s 4,608 foreign-born Finns lived in these counties; in 1930, the figure was still high at 80 per cent. Having migrated at first primarily for economic reasons from Finland’s rural areas, the early settlers were later joined by dissidents from the Czarist Russian government and also from the church. {22}

Two Finnish townships, Brule in Douglas County and Knox in Price, in 1898 cast votes of 67 per cent and 77 per cent for GOP candidates, thus giving the Finns a decidedly Republican complexion. However, the unsettled nature of the cutover region of the state and the recentness of Finnish immigration make this a figure to be treated with caution. In 1900, when La Follette was the candidate, the two townships increased their Republicanism to 87 per cent and 92 per cent, respectively.

The radicalism which was to mark Finnish involvement in politics in later years did not show in 1900. In fact, the Prohibition candidate did better among Finns that year than did either the nominee of the People’s party or the two Socialist candidates.

In Dickinson County, Michigan, Kleppner found a positive correlation of Finnish voters with members of the Democratic party, but he wisely did not generalize from this fact, for the pattern clearly does not hold for Wisconsin. Arthur Hoglund, the major historian of America’s Finnish immigrants, suggests that before 1920 Democratic votes and editorial support from Finnish journals were the exception rather than the rule. {23}


Despite the continuing struggle between stalwarts and progressives for control of the Republican party, it is difficult to find sufficient votes to provide a measure of support for Progressivism. The following indices have been used in this study to delineate Progressive support in the era before World War I: (1) the 1904 vote on establishing primary elections as the method for nominating candidates; (2) the 1914 state constitutional amendment aimed at devising methods of initiative and referendum for passing laws into the state constitution; and (3) the 1912 presidential preference primary pitting La Follette against incumbent President William Howard Taft. {24}

In order to sidetrack the primary election plan, it was sent to the people in 1904 by conservative legislators. The proposal, however, carried by a vote of 130,699 (62.0 per cent) to 80,192 (38.0 per cent) in the November election of that year. The proposal for initiative and referendum in 1914 was much less successful, losing by a vote of 84,934 (36.4 per cent) to 148,536 (63.6 per cent). In the presidential preference primary of 1912, La Follette had received 73.2 per cent of the Republican vote. Table III gives a rough index of Progressivism based on the three votes.

All of the Scandinavian areas lent strong support to the direct primary measure, varying from a median of 67 per cent among Danish urban wards to 95 per cent in the two Swedish villages. The initiative and referendum proposal of 1914 had tougher sledding, but it captured the votes of almost all of the Scandinavian rural categories. The eleven Finnish townships topped all units with a 71 per cent median; they were followed closely by the Danish small-town and rural divisions. All Scandinavian groupings, with the exception of the minimally Swedish city of Park Falls in Price County, exceeded the

Table III
Progressive Support, 1900 to 1914

 
1904 Primary Median
1914 Initiative and Referendum Median
1912 Presidential Primary Median
Average
Finnish rural
94%
71%
83%
83%
Danish villages
-
70%
95%
83%
Swedish villages
95%
61%
89%
82%
Danish rural
83%
67%
92%
81%
Swedish rural
85%
61%
94%
80%
Norwegian rural
91%
56%
86%
78%
Norwegian wards
76%
52%
86%
71%
Norwegian villages
83%
49%
73%
68%
Scandinavian cities:
   Stoughton
   Waupaca
   Park Falls

79%
78%
77%

46%
50%
28%

80%
72%
80%

68%
67%
62%
Swedish ward
89%
37%
69%
65%
Danish wards
67%
45%
77%
63%

statewide vote of 36 per cent. Rural areas and villages tended to be more progressive than their urban counterparts. Additional support for progressive measures came, however, from Milwaukee - from both German and Polish wards - and from scattered Belgian, French Canadian, and Italian areas. Native-stock, Yankee districts were not receptive to the rise of the Progressive movement led by La Follette; generally they cast votes at or below the statewide percentage. {25}

This voting pattern offers a contradiction to Richard Hofstadter’s status-revolution theory. {26} Rather than drawing from Yankee families in a declining status, Wisconsin Progressivism drew most heavily from rising ethnic groups - particularly from the Scandinavians. A look at the men closest to La Follette lends support to this observation. The reform coalition candidate for governor at each of the Republican state conventions from 1894 to 1898 had been Norwegian-born Nils P. Haugen. Closely allied with La Follette and Haugen were John M. Nelson, Herman Ekern, and James O. Davidson, also Norwegians. Irvine Lenroot represented the Swedes, and Theodore Kronshage and Henry Cochems “under-represented” Wisconsin’s large German population. {27}

One historian suggests that the Norwegians, at least, must rank as “one of the most consistently reform-bent ethnic groups in American history.” {28} A study of Skandinaven, a Norwegian-language newspaper widely read in Wisconsin, though published in Chicago, concludes: “In domestic affairs [the newspaper] was Progressive; though it might justly be called Republican in its outlook, it was the Republicanism of La Follette and Roosevelt and not of the standpatters. Direct election of senators, direct primaries, and control of trusts were all strongly advocated.” {29} With the support of the Republican old guard, Rasmus B. Anderson purchased Amerika, a Norwegian-language newspaper in Madison, to serve as a vehicle for opposing La Follette in Wisconsin. {30} But Anderson in his autobiography admitted that “politically I was friendless among the Norwegians because I was a stalwart Republican while they were nearly all enthusiastic admirers of La Follette.” {31} These judgments are borne out by this study.

Perhaps the lack of response to Progressivism on the part of Wisconsin’s native-stock Yankees was related to the fact that they were being ousted from their long-time control of the Republican party by a La Follette coalition centered among Scandinavian voters. In return, the Yankees sought to protect their dominant position in the economic life of the state and to return to political dominance by opposing the Progressive movement. In Wisconsin, Progressivism provided the major threat to their status, not a vehicle for restoring it.

Another possible index of Progressivism must be considered: the vote for Theodore Roosevelt in the 1912 presidential election. After displacing La Follette as the Progressive candidate in that year and after leaving the Republican convention when his forces lost there, Roosevelt found himself lacking a campaign apparatus in Wisconsin. The Milwaukee wing of the Republican party, led by Governor Francis McGovern, gave him support, but La Follette praised Woodrow Wilson in the pages of La Follette’s Weekly, although stopping short of outright endorsement of the Democratic candidate. Wilson carried Wisconsin with 41.1 per cent of the vote; Taft trailed in second place with 32.7 per cent; and Roosevelt finished a poor third with only 15.6 per cent, considerably less than the 27.4 per cent he received nationally. {32}

Table IV indicates the sources of Roosevelt’s strength among Scandinavians. In one sense, this vote measures the nonregular Republican wing that La Follette could not influence; in another, it measures those groups most susceptible to the personal appeal of the candidate from New York.

Table IV
Roosevelt’s Presidential Vote, 1912

Finnish rural 51% Danish wards 21%
Swedish rural 49% Swedish ward 19%
Danish villages 38% Norwegian villages 17%
Danish rural 34% Norwegian wards 16%
Swedish city 34% Danish city 15%
Swedish villages 33% Norwegian city 11%
Norwegian rural 28%  


Danish, Finnish, and Swedish rural and small-town areas vied among themselves for the lead in support of Roosevelt, with percentages varying from 33 to 51 per cent. Reflecting this orientation, the Swedish-language press broke from its allegiance to the traditional Republican party; fourteen editors backed Roosevelt, eighteen stood by Taft, and three supported Wilson. {33} Norwegian rural areas turned in a 28 per cent vote favoring Roosevelt, while other Norwegians, as well as urban Danes and Swedes, exercised more Scandinavian reserve, reflected in a range from 11 to 21 per cent for him.


The entrance of the United States into the First World War in 1917 had significant effects on Wisconsin Progressivism. In addition to redefining the issues around which campaigns were waged, it accentuated the factionalism always present within the movement. La Follette’s leadership of the forces opposed to American involvement in the war split Progressivism wide open. Irvine Lenroot and Nils Haugen, among La Follette’s Scandinavian supporters, found themselves condemning the senior senator from Wisconsin for his position on the war. The state’s large German population further complicated matters both for those involved in developing support for the war effort and for politicians concerned with promoting their own retention in office. {34}

The major political effect of the war, when the turmoil of the conflict itself had subsided, was to dislodge the German population from the Wilsonian coalition which had won the votes of the state and the nation in 1912. German voters, including Austrians and Swiss, voted in overwhelming numbers for Warren G. Harding and “normalcy” in 1920 - and for Robert La Follette in both his senatorial primary race of 1922 and in his third-party effort for the presidency in 1924. {35}

Wilson had made serious inroads into the usual Republicanism of the Scandinavians in 1912 and 1916. However, the debacle of the Democratic party in 1918 and 1920 included a return to the Republicans on the part of Scandinavian voters. A slight exception could be found among Finnish voters. Although supporting the Republican party by comfortable margins, the Finns also turned in votes ranging from 19 per cent to 25 per cent for the Socialists.

More important for our purposes is the effect of the war on the political fortunes of Robert La Follette. Badly scarred by the loyalty hysteria of’ 1917 and 1918, the senator’s political fortunes waxed as disillusionment with “Wilson’s war” set in. In the 1922 senatorial primary, he defeated his stalwart opponent by a vote of 362,445 (72.2 per cent) to 139,327 (27.8 per cent), going on to win the general election with 80.6 per cent of the popular vote.

Table V
Progressive Votes, 1922 and 1924

 
Number of Units
1922 Senate Primary
1924 President: Progressive
1912 to 1922 Change in
La Follette Primary Vote
Norwegian
   Rural
   Urban to 2,500
   2,500-10,000
   City wards

35
19
1
4

90%
69%
68%
83%

78%
58%
57%
57%

4%
-4%
-12%
-3%
Swedish
   Rural
   Urban to 2,500
   2,500-10,000
   City wards

14
5
1
1

82%
67%
78%
76%

53%
44%
59%
50%

-12%
-22%
-2%
7%
Danish
   Rural
   Urban to 2,500
   2,500-10,000
   City wards

8
3
1
4

84%
62%
40%
66%

64%
25%
45%
33%

-8%
-33%
-32%
-11%
Finnish
   Rural

12

86%

54%

3%
Wisconsin
72.2%
54.4%
-1.0%


The 1924 presidential election is more important for pinpointing La Follette’s sources of support than is the primary. In 1924 he ran as a third-party candidate requiring voters to leave their fixed allegiances to vote for him. While this move is easier for people to make than to cross the two-party line, it is still not a simple matter for voters with strong past party loyalties. For most Democrats, the affiliations had already been broken by the 1920 election; for many Republicans, the way had been prepared by a third of a century of fractional strife within their party. La Follette received 54.4 per cent of Wisconsin’s 834,388 votes in the 1924 election compared to 37.4 per cent for Calvin Coolidge and a minuscule 8.2 per cent for Democrat John Davis. {36} Did the Scandinavians retain their loyalty to La Follette through the war years? How willing were they to leave the party of their forefathers to support a third one? Table V, which gives the La Follette vote in the senate Republican primary of 1922 and the presidential election of 1924, as well as the change in La Follette’s support from the 1912 Republican presidential primary to the 1922 senate primary, reveals the answers to these questions.

Norwegians clearly remained loyal to La Follette through the war experience, except in the always volatile city of Stoughton in Dane County, which dropped to just below the state average in both 1922 and 1924. Danish townships voted strongly for La Follette, while Finnish and Swedish rural areas nearly matched the state average of 54 per cent. However, all other Danish voting units and the Swedish villages dropped their support of La Follette by percentages varying from 11 to 33 between 1912 and 1922. In 1924, the latter groups found themselves close to the bottom in the list of La Follette voters.

The senator, however, more than made up for these losses by his gains among the Germans. Thus Progressivism in 1924 stood on two legs - one firmly rooted in the Scandinavian and Belgian support predating the war, the other in Teutonic groups clearly affected by their wartime experiences. Samuel Lubell has suggested that La Follette Progressivism served during the interwar period as a “halfway station for two distinct streams of insurgents - those who were leaving the Republican party in protest against big-business domination, and those who had forsaken the Democratic party in vengeful memory of ‘Wilson’s War.” {37} This study bears out that judgment.

V. O. Key has written that the 1924 La Follette vote, in New England at least, pointed the way toward the Democratic majority brought about by the Depression, the New Deal, and the personality of Franklin D. Roosevelt - with Al Smith’s candidacy in 1928 an even more important factor. {38} Where did Wisconsin’s Scandinavians fit into this picture? The majority, though far from all, had followed La Follette into his brief third-party venture. Did they, as Lubell has suggested, move on into the Democratic party? Table VI provides a partial answer to that question. {39}

Al Smith’s role in forming the New Deal coalition has generally been seen as pulling urban Catholic voters firmly into the Democratic orbit. {40} In Wisconsin, he had even greater success among rural Catholic ethnic groups. An effort was made by a group of Progressives, led by Senator John Blame and including William T. Evjue, to gain support among Progressive voters for the Smith candidacy. Blame was half-Norwegian, and Evjue, publisher of the Madison Capital Times, had great influence among his fellow Norwegians. {41} As Table VI indicates, this effort resulted in a limited number of votes for Smith. All Scandinavian units (except Swedish Park Falls) hovered between 21 per cent and 33 per cent in favoring the New York governor. This backing compares favorably with earlier Democratic voting among Scandinavians.

Table VI
Presidential Vote, 1924 to 1940

 
1932 Number of Units
1924 progresives
1924 Democrates
1928 Democrates
1932 Democrates
1936 Democrates
1940 Democrates
Norwegian
   Rural
   Urban to 2,500
   2,500-10,000
   City wards

35
19
1
4

78%
58%
57%
57%

2%
3%
4%
5%

22%
25%
21%
32%

71%
51%
53%
51%

65%
55%
65%
66%

56%
50%
65%
64%
Swedish
   Rural
   Urban to 2,500
   2,500-10,000
   City wards

14
5
1
1

53%
44%
59%
50%

2%
4%
9%
7%

21%
31%
44%
33%

57%
46%
66%
52%

60%
51%
73%
61%

46%
42%
55%
55%
Dannish
   Rural
   Urban to 2,500
   2,500-10,000
   City wards

8
3
1
4

64%
25%
45%
33%

5%
12%
6%
3%

28%
26%
22%
26%

71%
70%
46%
52%

63%
48%
42%
62%

49%
37%
38%
54%
Finnish
   Rural

12

54%

2%

28%

64%

80%

72%
Wisconsin
54.4%
8.2%
44.2%
63.5%
63.8%
50.1%


By 1932, however, almost all Scandinavian units found themselves at least marginally Democratic. Norwegian, Danish and Finnish rural areas, Danish villages, and Swedish Park Falls surpassed Roosevelt’s statewide vote of 63.5 per cent. Swedish rural areas reached 57 per cent, and all other Scandinavian units ranged in the 46 to 53 per cent marginal category. In 1936 Roosevelt increased his Wisconsin support to 63.8 per cent. Within the state, this apparent lack of change masked his gains in urban areas and his significant losses in rural districts and with German voters. Among Scandinavians, downward trends in Norwegian and Danish rural areas, counterbalanced by gains in almost all urban areas, mirrored the state pattern. Exceptions to the general shift were made by the rural Finns, who greatly increased their Democratic vote, by Swedes with small Democratic gains, and by Danish villages and cities, which declined in support of the New Deal. William Lemke’s third-party effort elicited no response among Wisconsin Scandinavians; no group equaled his statewide vote of 4.8 per cent. On the radical side, eight of the Finnish townships gave more than 5 per cent of their vote to the Socialist party in 1932, although none topped the 1 per cent mark in 1936. Five of these townships, however, registered votes above 5 per cent for the Communist party in 1940.

By 1940 Roosevelt had much more to worry about than Finnish defections to the Communist party. In Wisconsin, his coalition was in disarray, and he carried the state with a narrow majority of 50.1 per cent. While his greatest losses occurred in German areas, he also fell behind in every Scandinavian grouping in Table VI. Norwegians and Finns remained most firm in their allegiance to the President. Meanwhile, on the Progressive front, Senator Robert La Follette, Jr., who had been elected to fill his father’s seat in 1925, and ex-Governor Philip La Follette, seeing the handwriting on the wall for both conservative and liberal Republicans in the 1932 debacle, had left the fold to form a third party which was to endure until 1946. Phil was reelected governor in 1934 and 1936; his brother was returned to the Senate in 1934 and 1940, only to be defeated in the Republican primary in 1946. This study has focused on the 1934, 1940, and 1946 Senate races as outlined in Table VII: {42}

Table VII
Robert La Follette, Jr., Vote

 
1934 Senate
1940 Senate
1946
Senate Primary
Norwegian
   Rural
   Urban to 2,500
   2,500-10,000
   City wards

79%
58%
66%
57%

63%
55%
66%
60%

69%
61%
68%
59%
Swedish
   Rural
   Urban to 2,500
   2,500-10,000
   City wards

67%
54%
55%
40%

50%
47%
39%
55%

54%
61%
43%
51%
Dannish
   Rural
   Urban to 2,500
   2,500-10,000
   City wards

72%
43%
45%
47%

62%
43%
40%
48%

61%
45%
40%
46%
Finnish
   Rural

71%

64%

71%
Wisconsin
50.4%
45.3%
49.3%


The younger La Follettes continued the Progressive tradition both in name and in their actions outside the old party structure. Supportive of many New Deal measures, they often found themselves criticizing the Democrats for not going far enough in measures to combat the Depression. And, increasingly, they found themselves diverging from Roosevelt on foreign-policy issues. As the United States moved toward a second world war, the La Follettes, especially Robert, Jr., remained firmly devoted to the isolationist policies of their father. {43}

How did Scandinavians respond to these trends? Rural voters, led by Norwegians, with a 79.0 per cent vote for the Progressives in 1934, remained the bedrock of La Follette support; only German rural areas came close to this staunch backing. In 1940, Scandinavian country districts and Norwegian urban areas stood almost alone in their steady loyalty to La Follette. Germans had begun to move toward the more congenial Republican conservatism and isolationism. In both elections, Danish and Swedish voters were much less solid in their allegiance to the Progressive program.

By 1946, the third-party effort had fallen victim to the usual difficulties of splinter groups trying to hang on with a power base in a single state. {44} In a fateful move with long-range implications, Robert La Follette, Jr., decided to return to the Republican party, only to be shot down by “Tail-gunner” Joseph McCarthy in the senatorial primary of that year. This result would not have occurred had Scandinavians been the only voters in Wisconsin. In 1946, Finns, Norwegians, rural Danes, and most Swedes remained loyal to La Follette, while Swedish Park Falls and Danish villages and urban areas voted for McCarthy. An odd commentary on political preferences appears when one compares the 1940 votes for Roosevelt with those for La Follette, Jr.; they represented totally divergent approaches to foreign policy in that election. Their support among Scandinavians came not from different but from similar areas, as Table VIII indicates:

Table VIII
1940 Election, Democrats and Progressives

Roosevelt Support
La Follette Support
Finnish rural 72% Norwegian city 66%
Norwegian city 65% Finnish rural 64%
Norwegian wards 64% Norwegian rural 63%
Norwegian rural 56% Danish rural 62%
Swedish city 55% Norwegian wards 60%
Swedish ward 55% Swedish ward 55%
Danish wards 54% Norwegian villages 55%
Norwegian villages 50% Swedish rural 50%
Danish rural 49% Danish wards 48%
Swedish rural 46% Swedish villages 47%
Swedish villages 42% Danish villages 43%
Danish city 38% Danish city 40%
Danish villages 37% Swedish city 39%


The year 1950 marks an appropriate endpoint for this study. Two years later, the Eisenhower landslide and the emergence of Senator Joseph McCarthy as a controversial figure would distort the voting patterns in Wisconsin. In the 1950 election, Republican Walter Kohler, Jr., defeated Democrat Carl Thompson by a vote of 605,649 (53.6 per cent) to 525,319 (46.4 per cent). The presence of a Norwegian candidate for governor makes it necessary to combine the analysis of this election with the 1948 presidential race. In that year, Harry Truman defeated Thomas Dewey by the narrow margin of 647,310 (50.7 per cent) to 590,959 (46.3 per cent), with Henry Wallace receiving 25,282 (2.0 per cent), and Socialist Norman Thomas 12,547 (1.0 per cent). {45} How the Scandinavian areas arrange themselves in these two elections is indicated in Table IX:

Table IX
Democratic Vote at Mid-century

1948 Presidential
Election
1950 Gubernatorial
Election
Norwegian city 66% Norwegian city 74%
Norwegian rural 63% Finnish rural 60%
Swedish city 56% Norwegian rural 58%
Norwegian ward 55% Norwegian ward 56%
Danish wards 54% Norwegian villages 53%
Swedish villages 53% Swedish city 51%
Swedish rural 52% Danish rural 47%
Norwegian villages 51% Swedish rural 46%
Finnish rural 51% {46} Danish wards
46%
Wisconsin as a whole 50.7% Swedish ward 45%
Danish rural 50% Wisconsin as a whole 43.7%
Swedish ward 48% Swedish villages 37%
Danish villages 47% Danish villages 33%
Danish city 29% Danish city 27%


Not only were most Scandinavian voting units at least moderately Democratic at mid-century - or at least more Democratic than the state as a whole - but they were remarkably consistent in that they varied only slightly in the support that they gave President Truman and Norwegian Carl Thompson.

This study bears out Samuel Lubell’s observation that farmer-labor and progressive parties, especially in the interwar period, served as way stations for Midwestern Scandinavian voters en route from regular Republicanism to support for liberal Democratic parties. Solidly Republican in 1900, Norwegian and Finnish voters had become moderately Democratic by 1950, although Norwegian villages must be listed as marginal. Swedish voters had shifted from a staunch Republican allegiance to the marginal category. Danish voters had undergone the least change - from fairly strong to moderate Republicanism. In any case, ethnicity still remained important as a clue to voting behavior well into the second and third generations of this group of immigrants. Explanations of the electoral support of issues, parties, and candidates - though necessarily paying attention to variables such as class, occupation, and individual psychological factors - can ignore the ethnic variable only at the risk of giving an incomplete portrait of the American electorate.

Appendix

Scandinavian Voting Units in Wisconsin

Norwegian

I. Township (35): Adams County, Strongs Prairie; Buffalo County, Dover and Modena; Crawford County, Freeman (after 1912), Dane County, Christiana (after 1914), Perry, and Pleasant Springs; Dunn County, Colfax (after 1904), Grant, and Sand Creek (to 1940); Green County, York; Jackson County, Curran, Franklin, Garfield, Northfield, and Springfield (after 1919); Monroe County, Portland; Pierce County, Gilman and Martell; Portage County, New Hope; St. Croix County, Eau Galle and Rush River; Trempeleau County, Albion (after 1902), Chimney Rock, Ettrick, Hale, Pigeon (to 1940), and Preston; Vernon County, Christiana, Coon (after 1907), Franklin, and Jefferson; and Waupaca County, Harrison, Iola, and Scandinavia.
II. Villages and Cities under 2,500 (19): Barron County, Dallas (after 1903); Crawford County, Ferryville (after 1912); Dane County, Blue Mounds (after 1912), Cambridge, Deerfield, DeForest (after 1903), Mt. Horeb (after 1899), McFarland (after 1920), and Rockdale (after 1914); Dunn County, Colfax (after 1904) and Elk Mound (after 1909); Jackson County, Taylor (after 1919); Rock County,
Orfordville (after 1900); Trempeleau County, Blair and Whitehall; Vernon County, Coon Valley (after 1907) and Westby; and Waupaca County, Iola and Scandinavia.
III. Cities over 2,500 (1): Dane County, Stoughton.
IV. City wards (4): Eau Claire County, Eau Claire city, 7, 8, and 10 (to 1946); and La Crosse County, La Crosse city, 9.


Swedish

I. Townships (14): Burnett County, Anderson (after 1905), Daniels or Wood Lake (after 1905), Grantsburg (1905 to 1940), Trade Lake, and Wood River (after 1905); Pepin County, Pepin and Stockholm (after 1903); Pierce County, Isabella and Maiden Rock; Polk County, Apple River; and Price County, Hacket, Hill, Ogema, and Spirit or Brannan.
II. Villages and Cities under 2,500 (5): Burnett County, Grantsburg; Pepin County, Stockholm (after 1903); Pierce County, Bay City (after 1909); and Polk County, Clayton (after 1909) and Dresser or Valley City (after 1919).
III. Cities over 2,500 (1): Price County, Park Falls (after 1901).
IV. City wards (1): Ashland County, Ashland city, 2.


Danish

I. Townships (8): Brown County, New Denmark (after 1915); Clark County, Hixon (after 1904); Juneau County, Orange; Oconto County, Maple Valley; Polk County, Bone Lake, Luck (after 1905), and Milltown (after 1910); and Waupaca County, Waupaca.
II. Villages and Cities under 2,500 (3): Brown County, Denmark (after 1915); and Polk County, Luck (after 1905) and Milltown (after 1910).
III. Cities over 2,500 (1): Waupaca County, Waupaca.
IV. City wards (4): Racine County, Racine city, 8 and 11 (after 1904), 12 and 13 (after 1910).


Finnish

I. Townships (12): Ashland County, Ashland (after 1910) and Marengo (after 1908); Bayfield County, Oulu (after 1904); Douglas County, Brule (to 1940), Cloverland (after 1921), Lakeside (after 1912), and Maple (after 1907); Lincoln County, Somo (1905 to 1940); Iron County, Carey (1909 to 1940), Kimball (after 1914), and Oma (after 1912); and Price County, Knox

 

Notes

<1> Frederick Jackson Turner, Commonplace Book quoted in Ray Allen Billington, Frederick Jackson Turner: Historian, Scholar, Teacher, 48 (New York, 1973).

<2> Quoted in Joseph Schafer, “The Wisconsin Domesday Book,” in the Wisconsin Magazine of History, 4:63-64 (September, 1920).

<3> Schafer, “Who Elected Lincoln?” in the American Historical Review, 47:51-63 (October, 1941).

<4> Complete citations to these and other studies can be found in Robert Swierenga, “Ethnocultural Political Analysis: A New Approach to American Ethnic Studies,” in the Journal of American Studies, 5:59-79 (April, 1971); Samuel McSeveney, “Ethnic Groups, Ethnic Conflicts, and Recent Quantitative Research in American Political History,” in the International Migration Review, 7:14-33 (Spring, 1973); and Richard L. McCormick, “Ethno-Cultural Interpretations of Nineteenth-Century American Voting Behavior,” in the Political Science Quarterly, 89:351-377 (June, 1974).

<5> David L. Brye, “Wisconsin Voting Patterns in the Twentieth Century, 1900-1950,” an unpublished doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, 1973.

<6> “A Retabulation f Population Schedules from the Wisconsin State Census of 1905,” published by the departments of rural sociology and agricultural economics, University of Wisconsin co-operating with the Works Progress Administration, July 30, 1940, 11 vols., in the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Madison. The data were brought up to date and charted on a map entitled “The Peoples of Wisconsin According to Ethnic Stocks, 1940,” in Wisconsin’s Changing Population, Science Inquiry Publication IX, a Bulletin of the University of Wisconsin (Madison, 1942).

<7> See Brye, “Wisconsin Voting Patterns,” 38-46, 64-69, for a discussion of the problem of persistence in ethnic and other characteristics from 1900 to 1950. Units which underwent boundary or rapid population changes were used only for the period of relative population stability.

<8> See the Appendix for a complete list of voting units.

<9> Paul Kleppner, The Cross of Culture: A Social Analysis of Midwestern Politics, 1850-1 900, 158-171 (New York, 1970); Richard Jensen, The Winning of the Midwest: Social and Political Conflict, 1888-1896, 122-153 (Chicago, 1971); and Roger E. Wyman, “Wisconsin Ethnic Groups and the Election of 1890,” in the Wisconsin Magazine of History, 51:269-293 (Summer, 1968).

<10> For Wisconsin politics in the twentieth century, see Robert C. Nesbit, Wisconsin: A History (Madison, 1973); Robert S. Maxwell, La Follette and the Rise of Progressivism in Wisconsin (Madison, 1956); Herbert F. Margulies, The Decline of the Progressive Movement in Wisconsin (Madison, 1968); and Michael Paul Rogin, “Wisconsin: McCarthy and the Progressive Tradition,” in The intellectuals and McCarthy: The Radical Specter, 59-103 (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1967).

<11> See The Wisconsin Blue Book, 1901, 268-329, for election data for 1898 and 1900 at the minor civil division level.

<12> Norwegian settlement is dealt with in Olaf M. Norlie, History of the Norwegian People in America (Minneapolis, 1925); Theodore C. Blegen, Norwegian Migration to America, 1825-1860 (Northfield, 1931) and Norwegian Migration to America: The American Transition (Northfield, 1940); Carlton C. Qualey, Norwegian Settlement in the United States (Northfield, 1938); Arlow W. Andersen, The Norwegian-Americans (Boston, 1975); and Guy-Harold Smith, “Notes on the Distribution of the Foreign-Born Scandinavian in Wisconsin in 1905,” in the Wisconsin Magazine of History, 14:419-436 (June, 1931).

<13> Curti, The Making of an American Community: A Case Study of Democracy in a Frontier County, 296-297 (Stanford, California, 1959).

<14> The Trempeleau County Record for September 18, 1868, reflected this attitude in commenting that, in the recent elections, the Norwegians showed a “good sense of law and order by voting the Republican ticket.” Quoted in Curti, American Community, 104.

<15> Kleppner, Cross of Culture, 52, 85-88; Jensen, Winning of the Midwest, 81; Arlow W. Andersen, The immigrant Takes His Stand: The Norwegian-American Press and Public Affairs, 1847-1872 (Northfield, 1953); and George M. Stephenson, “The Mind of the Scandinavian Immigrant,” in Norwegian-American Studies and Records, 4:63-73 (Northfield, 1929).

<16> Norlie, History of the Norwegian People, 489-492.

<17> Larson, The Log Book of a Young Immigrant, 247-248 (Northfield, 1939).

<18> On Swedish settlement, see Adolph B. Benson and Naboth Hedin, Americans from Sweden (Philadelphia, 1950); Helge Nelson, The Swedes and the Swedish Settlements in North America, 2 vols. (New York, 1943); and Erik Ehn, “The Swedes in Wisconsin: Immigration to Wisconsin,” in the Swedish Pioneer Historical Quarterly, 19:116-129 (April, 1968).

<19> Kleppner, Cross of Culture, 335; Stephenson, The Religious Aspect of Swedish Immigration, 50 (Minneapolis, 1932). Stephenson’s stress on Scandinavian conservatism, in “The Mind of the Scandinavian Immigrant,” no doubt reflects his greater familiarity with Swedish sources. See also Finis Herbert Capps, From Isolationism to Involvement: The Swedish Immigrant Press in America, 1914-1945, 17 (Chicago, 1966).

<20> John H. Bille, “A History of the Danes in America,” in Wisconsin Academy of Science, Arts and Letters, Transactions, 9:1-48 (1896-1897), and Thomas Christiansen, “Danish Settlement in Wisconsin,” in the Wisconsin Magazine of History, 12:19-40 (September, 1928).

<21> Kleppner, Cross of Culture, 53.

<22> Arthur Hoglund, Finnish Immigrants in America, 1880-1920 (Madison, 1960), and John Kolehmainen and George W. Hill, Haven in the Woods: The Story of the Finns in Wisconsin (Madison, 1951).

<23> Kleppner, Cross of Culture, 53; Hoglund, Finnish Immigrants, 116-117.

<24> Other treatments of voting by Progressives are to be found in Roger Wyman, “Middle-Class Voters and Progressive Reform: The Conflict of Class and Culture,” in the American Political Science Review, 68:488-504 (June, 1974) and “Voting Behavior in the Progressive Era: Wisconsin as a Case Study,” an unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Wisconsin, 1970, and in Jorgen Weibul, “The Wisconsin Progressives, 1900-1914,” in Mid-America, 47:191-221 (July, 1965). Minor civil-division data for the 1904 election are in The Wisconsin Blue Book, 1905, 513-549. For the 1912 presidential preference primary, see the Industrial Commission of Wisconsin, The Primary Election of 1910 and the Presidential Primary of 1912, 90-191 (Madison, 1912); for the 1914 referendum, see the Secretary of State, “Election Returns,” in the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Madison.

<25> Brye, “Wisconsin Voting Patterns,” 251-272.

<26> Hofstadter, The Age of Reform: From Bryan to F. D. R. (New York, 1955). George Mowry, in his The California Progressives (Berkeley, 1951) and The Era of Theodore Roosevelt, 1900-1912 (New York, 1958), makes a similar point. David P. Thelen, in “Social Tensions and the Origins of Progressivism,” in the Journal of American History, 56:323-341 (September, 1969), also challenges Hofstadter, using Wisconsin data. See also Thelen, Time New Citizenship: Origins of Progressivism in Wisconsin, 1885-1900 (Columbia, Missouri, 1972).

<27> Kenneth Acrea, “The Wisconsin Reform Coalition, 1892-1900: La Follette’s Rise to Power,” in the Wisconsin Magazine of History, 52:132-157 (Winter, 1968-1969).

<28> Jon Wefald, A Voice of Protest: Norwegians in American Politics, 1890- 1917, 3 (Northfield, 1971).

<29> Agnes M. Larson, “The Editorial Policy of Skandinaven, 1900-1903,” in Norwegian-American Studies and Records, 8:126 (Northfield, 1934).

<30> Lloyd Hustvedt, Rasmus Bjørn Anderson: Pioneer Scholar, 234-237 (Northfield, 1966).

<31> Rasmus B. Anderson, Life Story, 616, 649 (Madison, 1917). Anderson noted in his autobiography: “In every Norwegian community in the state, there was the greatest enthusiasm for ‘Bob’ La Follette.”

<32> For minor civil-division data, see The Wisconsin Blue Book, 1913, 171- 214.

<33> Paul E. Johnson, “The Swedish-American Press in the Election of 1912,” an unpublished master’s thesis, University of Iowa, 1940, 116, cited in Capps, From isolation to Involvement, 20. See also O. Fritiof Ander, “The Swedish-American Press in the Election of 1912,” in the Swedish Pioneer Historical Quarterly, 14:103-126.

<34> On Wisconsin and World War I, see Margulies, Decline of the Progressive Movement, 193-243; Belle and Fola La Follette, Robert M.. La Follette, June 14, 1855-June 18, 1925, vol. 2 (New York, 1953); Robert S. Maxwell, Emanuel L. Philipp: Wisconsin Stalwart (Madison, 1959); and Charles
Stewart, “Prussianizing Wisconsin,” in the Atlantic Monthly, 123:99-105 (January, 1919).

<35> See David L. Brye, “Loyalty, Voting, and Ethnicity: Wisconsin’s German Community Responds to World War I,” a paper presented before the Upper Midwest Ethnic Studies Association, St. Paul, April 6, 1974.

<36> Minor civil-division data for the 1922 senate primary are in The Wisconsin Blue Book, 1923, 428-499. For the 1924 presidential race, see the Secretary of State, “Elections Returns,” in the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Madison.

<37> Lubell, The Future of American Politics, 142 (New York, 1965).

<38> V. O. Key, “A Theory of Critical Elections,” in the Journal of Politics, 17:3-18 (February, 1955).

<39> For 1924 and 1928, minor civil-division data are available in the Secretary of State, “Election Returns,” in the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Madison. For 1932, 1936, and 1940, see The Wisconsin Blue Book, 1933, 607-653, 1937, 369-418, and 1942, 601-654.

<40> Lubell, Future of American Politics it the classic statement of this view.

<41> Thomas Schlereth, “The Progressive-Democratic Alliance in the Wisconsin Presidential Election of 1928,” an unpublished master’s thesis, University of Wisconsin, 1965.

<42> Minor civil-division data for these elections are in the Secretary of State, “Election Returns,” in the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Madison. On the younger La Follettes, see Roger T. Johnson, Robert M. La Follette, Jr. and the Decline of the Progressive Party in Wisconsin (Madison, 1964); Donald Young, ed., Adventures in Politics: The Memoirs of Philip La Follette (New York, 1970); and Donald R. McCoy, “The Formation of the Wisconsin Progressive Party in 1934,” in the Historian, 14:70-90 (Autumn, 1951).

<43> In 1938, Phil La Follette sought to establish a national third party to do battle with Roosevelt and the Democrats. See Donald R. McCoy, “The National Progressives of America, 1938,” in the Mississippi Valley Historical Review, 44:75-93 (June, 1957).

<44> On McCarthy and 1946, see Robert W. Griffith, Jr., The Politics of Fear: Joseph R. McCarthy and the Senate (Lexington, Kentucky, 1971) and Michael James O’Brien, “Senator Joseph McCarthy and Wisconsin, 1946-1957,” an unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Wisconsin, 1970.

<45> Minor civil-division data for 1948 and 1950 are in The Wisconsin Blue Book, 1950, 667-746, and 1952, 689-739. On recent Wisconsin politics, see Leon Epstein, Politics in Wisconsin (Madison, 1958); John H. Fenton, “Programmatic Politics in Wisconsin,” in Midwest Politics, 44-74 (New York, 1966); and Richard Canton Haney, “A History of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin since World War II,” an unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Wisconsin, 1969.

<46> Henry Wallace’s third-party Progressives drew a median of 15 per cent of the Finnish vote, reaching a high of 29 per cent in Knox Township. Omitting the Progressive vote would raise the Finnish proportion of the two-party vote to 63 per cent. Wallace received minuscule votes from other Scandinavian groups.

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