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Capital Madison
Nickname The Badger State
Official Language English
Governor Scott Walker, R
Senator Herb Kohl, D
(202) 224-5653
Senator Ron Johnson, R
(202) 224-5323
Ratification of Constitution/or statehood May 29, 1848 (30th)
Flag of Wisconsin Motto: Forward
Geographic map of Wisconsin

Wisconsin, the "Badger State", or unofficially "America's Dairyland", was the thirtieth state to enter the union, on May 29, 1848. The capital city of Wisconsin is Madison.

The town of Ripon in Wisconsin was "The Birthplace of the Republican Party" in 1854.

The state tree is the sugar maple, the state song is "On Wisconsin", the state flower is the wood violet, the state bird is the American robin, the state animal is the badger, the state fossil is the trilobite, and the state fish is the muskellunge.[1]


The state attracted fur trappers before the American Revolution, and enjoyed a lead mining boom in the 1830s. Wisconsin was a mining state before it was a farm state. Metallic lead could be picked up from the ground without digging. Cornish miners (from Britain) were some of the earliest European settlers of the state.[2]

Southwestern Wisconsin is now a less heavily populated agricultural region, but for a while it was the economic center of the state. The first territorial capital was Belmont,[3] located about thirty miles from Dubuque, Iowa). Lead mining peaked in the mid-1840s, and the California gold rush of 1849 drew many miners away. The current population of Belmont is 891.[4] The Southeast, which includes Milwaukee and the suburban corridor running south to Chicago, is now the most populous section of the state.

Wisconsin cannot be stereotyped politically. It is often associated with the name of anti-communist crusader of the 1950s Joseph McCarthy, but is equally tied to that of Robert M. La Follette and his Progressive faction of the Republican Party and the Progressive Party. Socialists flourished in Germania in Milwaukee, typified by Victor Berger, the first Socialist Party candidate elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Frank Zeidler, the Mayor of Milwaukee from 1948-1960 was the last in a string of twelve socialist mayors of Milwaukee, whose emphasis on the basics of municipal service led them to be called "sewer socialists."[5] The state is usually a battleground in presidential elections. Its Republicans tend to be moderates, such as Tommy Thompson, who served as a four-term governor from 1987 to 2001, then entered the cabinet. Currently, Republicans control the Wisconsin Senate by a 19-14 seat margin and the State Assembly by a 60-38-1 margin.

Wisconsin is well known for its dairy industry and is a top producer of cheese in the US.

The Carnegie Library in Ripon, built 1910

Elected Officials




Wisconsin's legislative branch consists of a senate and an assembly.

However, in February 2011, 14 Democratic senators left the state to boycott a controversial Senate vote. [1]

See Wisconsin budget controversy.

Sports in Wisconsin

Milwaukee is home to three professional sports teams. The Brewers (baseball), the Bucks (basketball), and the Admirals (hockey). Wisconsin is also home to the Green Bay Packers football team which has largest following of any professional sports team. Wisconsin is also home to various college sports programs, most notably the Wisconsin Badgers and the Marquette Golden Eagles.

Abortion in Wisconsin

Wisconsin has the 8th lowest abortion rate in the United States, and it has declined to a record low since 1974, the first year after Roe v. Wade:[6]

There were 9,580 abortions done in the state in 2006, down from 9,817 in 2005. This is the third year in a row that abortions in the Midwestern state have decreased and the number is the lowest since 1974.
"Wisconsin Right to Life is ecstatic that Wisconsin abortion numbers continue to decline," Barbara Lyons, the group's director, told LifeNews.com in a statement.
"In addition, the abortion rate (which represents the number of abortions per 1000 women of childbearing age) remains at 8, which is one of the lowest abortion rates in the nation," Lyons added. The national abortion rate is about 15 per 1,000 women.
In the statement, Wisconsin Right to Life[7] suggests that the abortions are on the decline because of its work and pro-life legislation the state has enacted and polls showing that younger Americans are more pro-life than previous generations. ...
There are 14 abortions per 100 life births in Wisconsin, lower than the 24 per 100 live births nationwide.
In 2006, there were 596 abortions on minors. Written consent (usually by a parent) was provided in 530 of these; the patient was an emancipated minor in 24; and a court granted a petition to waive the parental consent requirement in 42. There were no teens who got abortions after being victimized by sexual assault. ...
Some 85 percent of the abortions were surgical and 15 percent involved abortion drugs, an increase of one percent over 2005.



  • Campbell, Henry C. Wisconsin in Three Centuries, 1684-1905 (4 vols., 1906), highly detailed popular history
  • James K. Conant. Wisconsin Politics And Government: America's Laboratory of Democracy (2006)
  • Richard Current, Wisconsin: A History (2001)
  • Larry Gara; A Short History of Wisconsin 1962
  • Holmes, Fred L. Wisconsin (5 vols., Chicago, 1946), detailed popular history with many biographies
  • Robert C. Nesbit, Wisconsin: A History (rev. ed. 1989)
  • Quaife, Milo M. Wisconsin, Its History and Its People, 1634-1924 (4 vols., 1924), detailed popular history & biographies
  • Raney, William Francis. Wisconsin: A Story of Progress (1940),
  • A. H. Robinson and J. B. Culver, ed., The Atlas of Wisconsin (1974)
  • I. Vogeler, Wisconsin: A Geography (1986);
  • WPA, Wisconsin: A Guide to the Badger State 1941; detailed guide to every town and city, and cultural history

Detailed scholarly studies

  • Anderson, Theodore A. A Century of Banking in Wisconsin (1954)
  • Braun, John A Together in Christ: A history of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (2000), 55 pp
  • Buenker, John D. The History of Wisconsin. Volume IV The Progressive Era, 1893-1914 (1998), highly detailed history
  • Brøndal, Jørn. Ethnic Leadership and Midwestern Politics: Scandinavian Americans and the Progressive Movement in Wisconsin, 1890-1914. University of Illinois Press, 2004 ISBN 0-87732-095-0.
  • Bungert, Heike, Cora Lee Kluge, and Robert Ostergren, eds. Wisconsin: German Land and Life. (Madison: Max Kade Institute, 2006. 260 pp. isbn 0-92411-926-8.)
  • Butts, Porter. Art in Wisconsin ( Madison, 1936).
  • Clark, James I. Education in Wisconsin (1958).
  • Cochran, Thomas C. The Pabst Brewing Company (1948), the best history of any brewery
  • Mike Corenthal. Illustrated History of Wisconsin Music 1840-1990: 150 Years (1991)
  • Richard Nelson Current. History of Wisconsin: The Civil War Era, 1848-1873 (1976) standard state history
  • Curti, Merle and Carstensen, Vernon. The University of Wisconsin: A History (2 vols., 1949)
  • Curti, Merle. The Making of an American Community A Case Study of Democracy in a Frontier County (1969), in-depth quantitative social history
  • Fries, Robert F. Empire in Pine: The Story of Lumbering in Wisconsin, 1830-1900 (1951).
  • Paul Geib; "From Mississippi to Milwaukee: A Case Study of the Southern Black Migration to Milwaukee, 1940-1970" The Journal of Negro History, Vol. 83, 1998
  • Glad, Paul W. The History of Wisconsin, Volume 5: War, a New Era and Depression, 1914-1940, standard state history
  • Haney, Richard C. A History of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin since World War II
  • Jensen, Richard. The Winning of the Midwest: Social and Political Conflict, 1888-1896 (1971)
  • Lampard, Eric E. The Rise of the Dairy Industry in Wisconsin (1962).
  • McBride, Genevieve G. On Wisconsin Women: Working for Their Rights from Settlement to Suffrage
  • Herbert F. Margulies; The Decline of the Progressive Movement in Wisconsin, 1890-1920 (1968)
  • Merrill, Horace S. William Freeman Vilas: Doctrinaire Democrat (1954) Democratic leader in 1880s and 1890s
  • Olson, Frederick I. Milwaukee: At the Gathering of the Waters
  • A History of Agriculture in Wisconsin, by Schafer, Joseph (1922)
  • Schafer, Joseph. "The Yankee and Teuton in Wisconsin", Wisconsin Magazine of History, Vol. 6, No. 2, Dec. 1922, pp. 125-145, compares Yankee and German settlers
  • Still, Bayrd. Milwaukee, the History of a City 1948 online edition
  • Thelen, David. Robert M. LaFollette and the Insurgent Spirit 1976.
  • Unger, Nancy C. Fighting Bob LaFollette: The Righteous Reformer (2000)

Primary sources


  1. http://www.legis.state.wi.us/senate/scc/kids/facts.htm
  2. Lead Mining in Southwestern Wisconsin
  3. Belmont Wisconsin town website
  4. Belmont profile, idcide website.
  5. Milwaukee Sewer Socialism, Wisconsin State Historical Association
  6. Steven Ertelt, LifeNews.com (Apr. 9, 2007) http://www.lifenews.com/state2218.html
  7. http://www.wisconsinrighttolife.org