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APUSH Hall of Fame: Robert La Follette
APUSH Hall of Fame: Robert La Follette
Published: 2014/06/03
Channel: thebigscratch1
Jo Davidson works on statue of LaFollette 1927
Jo Davidson works on statue of LaFollette 1927
Published: 2011/08/01
Channel: historycomestolife
Fighting Bob LaFollette 1897 Speech as Relevant Now as it Was Then.
Fighting Bob LaFollette 1897 Speech as Relevant Now as it Was Then.
Published: 2013/10/26
Channel: SSWIDTMS
Progressive Era 2
Progressive Era 2
Published: 2014/09/29
Channel: Marc McClure
Robert La Follette 20th Century Project
Robert La Follette 20th Century Project
Published: 2011/09/10
Channel: badgerfan777
SKeene1956 asNotLuckyInLife D.A.F. Senator;Robert;M La Follette Part 2
SKeene1956 asNotLuckyInLife D.A.F. Senator;Robert;M La Follette Part 2
Published: 2010/02/15
Channel: NotLuckyInLife
Traitors are not gentlemen - Speech by Senator Joseph McCarthy 17th March 1954
Traitors are not gentlemen - Speech by Senator Joseph McCarthy 17th March 1954
Published: 2014/05/14
Channel: ESL and Popular Culture
How Was Joseph McCarthy Able to Become So Powerful? (2000)
How Was Joseph McCarthy Able to Become So Powerful? (2000)
Published: 2016/07/01
Channel: Way Back
New Defence Secretary is sworn in
New Defence Secretary is sworn in
Published: 2015/07/23
Channel: AP Archive
2017 La Follette High School Graduation
2017 La Follette High School Graduation
Published: 2017/06/14
Channel: mmsdtv
Think with Courage
Think with Courage
Published: 2017/06/15
Channel: Kent Songs
Brinkley, Galbraith, Latham & Schlesinger: "Lessons from the Past" (Ford Hall Forum, 1996)
Brinkley, Galbraith, Latham & Schlesinger: "Lessons from the Past" (Ford Hall Forum, 1996)
Published: 2016/09/19
Channel: Rob McCausland
Brett Black Band - "Bring it Back Home"
Brett Black Band - "Bring it Back Home"
Published: 2011/04/20
Channel: Michael Gruich
Senator McCarthy on Democrats & Communism
Senator McCarthy on Democrats & Communism
Published: 2010/11/06
Channel: Perseiden2
I Just Want To Thank You Lord
I Just Want To Thank You Lord
Published: 2015/11/22
Channel: Amber Chambers
Joe McCarthy 20
Joe McCarthy 20
Published: 2013/10/06
Channel: Newsday
John W Davis Ad
John W Davis Ad
Published: 2012/11/14
Channel: LilyLunaEvansPotter
Greg Palast at Fighting Bob Fest, Sept. 9
Greg Palast at Fighting Bob Fest, Sept. 9 '06 - Part 1
Published: 2007/02/24
Channel: milliniumjoe
Xavier Miller Highlight Tape
Xavier Miller Highlight Tape
Published: 2010/05/11
Channel: doce4heisman
Peace without victory
Peace without victory
Published: 2014/06/22
Channel: Tonto beats
SKeene1956 as NotLuckyInLife:D.A.F. Are We On the Road to War? SEN. Robert M. La Follette Pt. 1
SKeene1956 as NotLuckyInLife:D.A.F. Are We On the Road to War? SEN. Robert M. La Follette Pt. 1
Published: 2010/02/15
Channel: NotLuckyInLife
Governors, Senators, Diplomats, Jurists, Vice President of the United States (1950s Interviews)
Governors, Senators, Diplomats, Jurists, Vice President of the United States (1950s Interviews)
Published: 2017/01/30
Channel: Juraq lonyi
Phil Donahue at Fighting Bob Fest 2012
Phil Donahue at Fighting Bob Fest 2012
Published: 2012/09/19
Channel: ontheearthproduction
Cindy Sheehan at Fighting Bob Fest (9/8/07) Part 2 of 5
Cindy Sheehan at Fighting Bob Fest (9/8/07) Part 2 of 5
Published: 2007/09/13
Channel: milliniumjoe
Greg Palast at Fighting Bob Fest 2012
Greg Palast at Fighting Bob Fest 2012
Published: 2012/09/20
Channel: ontheearthproduction
Memories of Bill Yates
Memories of Bill Yates
Published: 2015/01/27
Channel: Lovin' Bluegrass by Carol McDuffie
B.B. King Jams with Slash and Others (6/6) Live at the Royal Albert Hall 2011
B.B. King Jams with Slash and Others (6/6) Live at the Royal Albert Hall 2011
Published: 2012/09/20
Channel: Shout! Factory
Fighting Bob Fest — Jim Hightower 9/11/2010 Pt 1
Fighting Bob Fest — Jim Hightower 9/11/2010 Pt 1
Published: 2010/09/17
Channel: Brian Schremp
Roast Speech at  Pastor Peter
Roast Speech at Pastor Peter's retirement party
Published: 2015/06/27
Channel: SunnySunKansas
Fighting Bob Fest/Ed Garvey/ On the Earth Productions
Fighting Bob Fest/Ed Garvey/ On the Earth Productions
Published: 2007/01/06
Channel: ontheearthproduction
Tammy Baldwin - 2007 Fighting Bob Fest
Tammy Baldwin - 2007 Fighting Bob Fest
Published: 2008/06/05
Channel: FightingBobFest
How to Pronounce Robert M. La Follette
How to Pronounce Robert M. La Follette
Published: 2016/11/23
Channel: Dictionary Voice
Leonard Cohen - Hallelujah
Leonard Cohen - Hallelujah
Published: 2009/10/03
Channel: LeonardCohenVEVO
Matt Gonzalez - 2005 Fighting Bob Fest
Matt Gonzalez - 2005 Fighting Bob Fest
Published: 2008/05/28
Channel: FightingBobFest
Greg Palast interviews Wendell Potter at Fighting Bob Fest 2009
Greg Palast interviews Wendell Potter at Fighting Bob Fest 2009
Published: 2010/03/22
Channel: ontheearthproduction
stan gruszynski at Fighting Bob Fest 2011
stan gruszynski at Fighting Bob Fest 2011
Published: 2011/09/17
Channel: Paul Baker
Tom Barrett, Mayor of Milwaukee, WI
Tom Barrett, Mayor of Milwaukee, WI
Published: 2010/09/15
Channel: FightingBobFest
Fighting Bob Fest: MARK POCAN
Fighting Bob Fest: MARK POCAN
Published: 2013/09/07
Channel: The Progressive Magazine
The Open Mind: Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. / “A Life In The 20th Century”
The Open Mind: Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. / “A Life In The 20th Century”
Published: 2016/08/08
Channel: cunytv75
Hunted by the KGB - Whittaker Chambers: Biography, Spy Case (1997)
Hunted by the KGB - Whittaker Chambers: Biography, Spy Case (1997)
Published: 2014/11/02
Channel: Way Back
Mike McCabe - 2008 Fighting Bob Fest
Mike McCabe - 2008 Fighting Bob Fest
Published: 2008/09/17
Channel: FightingBobFest
Ralph Nader - 2008 Fighting Bob Fest
Ralph Nader - 2008 Fighting Bob Fest
Published: 2008/09/18
Channel: FightingBobFest
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. - 2004 Fighting Bob Fest
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. - 2004 Fighting Bob Fest
Published: 2008/05/28
Channel: FightingBobFest
Kathleen Vinehout @ Bob Fest, Madison WI, Sept 2013
Kathleen Vinehout @ Bob Fest, Madison WI, Sept 2013
Published: 2013/09/08
Channel: Jules Crego
Fighting Bob Fest - 2007 Exhibitors
Fighting Bob Fest - 2007 Exhibitors
Published: 2008/06/05
Channel: FightingBobFest
Election of 1924
Election of 1924
Published: 2017/01/16
Channel: Juwann Davis
Rally in Madison, Wisconsin | Bernie Sanders
Rally in Madison, Wisconsin | Bernie Sanders
Published: 2015/07/02
Channel: Bernie 2016
Ritter at Fighting Bob Fest Sept 6, 2008
Ritter at Fighting Bob Fest Sept 6, 2008
Published: 2008/09/08
Channel: m Spiess
Gwen Moore - 2008 Fighting Bob Fest
Gwen Moore - 2008 Fighting Bob Fest
Published: 2008/09/16
Channel: FightingBobFest
phil neuenfeldt, AFL-CIO, at Fighting Bob Fest 2011
phil neuenfeldt, AFL-CIO, at Fighting Bob Fest 2011
Published: 2011/09/17
Channel: Paul Baker
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WIKIPEDIA ARTICLE

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Robert M. La Follette Jr.
RMLaFolletteJr.jpg
United States Senator
from Wisconsin
In office
September 30, 1925 – January 3, 1947
Preceded by Robert M. La Follette Sr.
Succeeded by Joseph McCarthy
Personal details
Born Robert Marion La Follette Jr.
(1895-02-06)February 6, 1895
Madison, Wisconsin, United States
Died February 24, 1953(1953-02-24) (aged 58)
Washington, D.C., United States
Nationality American
Political party Republican
Wisconsin Progressive Party
Spouse(s) Rachel Wilson Young

Robert Marion "Young Bob" La Follette Jr. (February 6, 1895 – February 24, 1953) was a U.S. senator from Wisconsin from 1925 to 1947. As an outspoken son of Representative, Senator, and Wisconsin Governor Robert M. La Follette Sr., co-founder of the Progressive Party and ally of the Farmer-Labor Party in adjacent Minnesota, La Follette kept the Progressive Party alive in the US Senate until his defeat by Joe McCarthy in 1946.

Early life[edit]

La Follette was born in Madison, Wisconsin, the son of Robert M. La Follette Sr. and Belle Case La Follette. He attended the University of Wisconsin–Madison from 1913 to 1917 but he did not graduate because of illness. (He received the honorary degree of LL.D. from the University of Wisconsin in 1938.) The same illness kept him out the military during World War I. La Follette served as his father's private secretary between 1919 and 1925. He married Rachel Wilson Young in 1930; they had two children, Joseph Oden La Follette and Bronson Cutting La Follette. La Follette had two siblings, Philip La Follette and Fola La Follette.

Political career[edit]

La Follette was elected as a Republican to the United States Senate on September 29, 1925, to fill the vacancy caused by the death of his father. "Young Bob," as he was called, was a champion of organized labor. He gained national prominence between 1936 and 1940 as chairman of a special Senate investigating committee, commonly called the La Follette Civil Liberties Committee, that exposed the surveillance, physical intimidation, and other techniques used by large employers to prevent workers from organizing.

He was chairman of the Committee on Manufactures in the 71st and 72nd Congresses. He supported President Franklin D. Roosevelt and most New Deal legislation until the passage of the 1938 naval expansion bill.

He was re-elected as a Republican in 1928. With his brother Philip, he formed the Wisconsin Progressive Party in 1934, and for a time the party was dominant in Wisconsin. He was reelected with the Progressive Party in 1934 and 1940.

In April 1943 a confidential analysis by English researcher Isaiah Berlin for the British Foreign Office stated that La Follette was the:

son of the celebrated Governor and brother of ex-Governor Philip La Follette of that State. Intimately tied with the very peculiar "progressive" Wisconsin political organisation, who started as an Isolationist New Dealer and by degrees has turned into a confused anti-administration Nationalist. He is a very eccentric and unpredictable political figure who continues to be radical in internal issues and obscurantist in foreign affairs. He is said to be prepared to approve of Britain after she had expiated her past errors by more suffering than she had already endured. He is entirely independent of business interests and pressure groups, and his strength comes from the traditional place occupied by his family in Wisconsin. On the whole an ally of the Isolationists.[1]

The Wisconsin Progressive Party dissolved, and La Follette returned to the Republican Party in 1946. La Follette was one of the Senate's leading isolationists and helped found the America First Committee in 1940. He helped to draft and win passage of the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946 that modernized the legislative process in Congress.[2]

Defeat[edit]

La Follette was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection as a Republican in 1946. He ran an isolationist campaign against the United Nations and was critical of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin but ended up narrowly losing to Joseph McCarthy in the Republican primary, 207,935 votes to 202,557.[3] While La Follette initially started with a large lead in the polls, that lead gradually dwindled, and on the primary election day, the results of the final county to report polls tipped the scales in McCarthy's favor. La Follette sent a one-word telegram saying "Congratulations" to McCarthy.

La Follette made several decisions that hurt his primary campaign. Disbanding the Progressive Party and seeking election on the Republican ticket that same year cost him the support of many progressive supporters that belonged to the former, while the more conservative Republicans were also suspicious of La Follette, as he had previously run against them. Being initially confident of victory, he further hurt his chances by staying on in Washington to draft and win passage of the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946 rather than returning to Wisconsin to campaign for re-election.

La Follette faced an aggressive campaign by McCarthy and failed to refute the latter's charges, several of which were false. McCarthy attacked La Follette for not enlisting during the war, although La Follette had been 46 when Pearl Harbor was bombed and would have been too old to be accepted. McCarthy played up his own wartime service, using his wartime nickname, "Tail-Gunner Joe," and the slogan "Congress needs a tail-gunner". McCarthy also claimed that while he had been away fighting for his country, La Follette had made huge profits from investments; the suggestion that La Follette had been guilty of war profiteering was deeply damaging. (In fact, McCarthy had invested in the stock market himself during the war, netting a profit of $42,000 in 1943. La Follette's investments consisted of partial interest in a radio station, which earned him a profit of $47,000 over two years.[4])

Arnold Beichman later stated that McCarthy "was elected to his first term in the Senate with support from the Communist-controlled United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers, CIO", which preferred McCarthy to the anti-communist Robert M. La Follette.[5] This charge, however, has never been proved.

Later life and suicide[edit]

La Follette (left) and Jesse P. Wolcott (right) receiving the Collier's Congressional Award from President Harry S. Truman (April 17, 1947)

After his defeat by McCarthy, La Follette was a foreign aid advisor to the Truman administration.

In a February 8, 1947, Collier's Weekly article, La Follette reported infiltration of Communists onto Congressional committee staffs. The Venona project materials revealed that four agents of Soviet intelligence had served on La Follette's Civil Liberties Subcommittee, including the chief counsel, John Abt.

On February 24, 1953, La Follette was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in Washington, D.C. On September 9, 1953, John Lautner testified before McCarthy's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, revealing the existence of Communists that had served on La Follette's subcommittee. Some historians believe that La Follette killed himself out of fear of being exposed by McCarthy; others believe he succumbed to anxiety and depression that had plagued him for much of his life.[6]

La Follette was interred at Forest Hill Cemetery in Madison, Wisconsin,[7] and was survived by his sons, Bronson La Follette, who served as Wisconsin's attorney general 1965–69 and 1975–87, and the late Joseph Oden LaFollette who spent his career working at IBM.[8]

Awards and honors[edit]

The University of Wisconsin awarded La Follette an honorary LL.D. degree in 1938. He also received Collier's Magazine award for outstanding public service in 1947.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hachey, Thomas E. (Winter 1973–1974). "American Profiles on Capitol Hill: A Confidential Study for the British Foreign Office in 1943" (PDF). Wisconsin Magazine of History. 57 (2): 141–153. JSTOR 4634869. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 21, 2013. 
  2. ^ Welcome to The American Presidency
  3. ^ La Follette, Robert Marion, Jr., 1895 - 1953
  4. ^ Rovere, Richard H. (1959). Senator Joe McCarthy. University of California Press. pp. 97, 102. ISBN 0-520-20472-7. 
  5. ^ Beichman, Arnold (February–March 2006). "The Politics of Personal Self-Destruction". Policy Review. Retrieved 2008-02-25. 
  6. ^ JS Online: La Follette suicide linked to fear of McCarthy
  7. ^ The Political Graveyard: Index to Politicians: Ladendorf to Lair
  8. ^ "La Follette Death Ends Era in West. Hope for Progressive Comeback Diminishes. Party Once Was Supreme Power in State.". New York Times. February 26, 1953. Retrieved 2008-03-22. The death of former Senator Robert M. La Follette Jr., who killed himself at his home in Washington yesterday, is not expected to have any considerable impact on the Wisconsin political situation, even though many of his followers in the old Progressive movement never abandoned hope that he would someday attempt a political comeback. 

External links[edit]

U.S. Senate
Preceded by
Robert M. La Follette Sr.
U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Wisconsin
1925–1947
Served alongside: Irvine Lenroot, John J. Blaine, F. Ryan Duffy, Alexander Wiley
Succeeded by
Joseph McCarthy

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