Cover

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Frontmatter

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

Map, Tables, and Figures

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pp. ix-x

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xiii

During the course of researching and writing this book, many individuals and institutions provided help and support, for which I am very grateful. The Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters granted me write-in- residence status at the beginning of this project, and the Evjue Foundation, Inc., awarded a grant to the Academy to support my work. Carol Toussaint, ...

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Introduction

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pp. xv-xx

The most important feature of Wisconsin's society, government, and politics during the twentieth century was its progressive nature. Wisconsin had a highly developed civil society, its elected and administrative officials continuously attempted to improve the state's political institutions, and they attempted to enhance the economic and social circumstances of the state's ...

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1: The Character of the State

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pp. 1-31

Wisconsin is a wonderful place to live. National surveys of the best places to live in America afford one measure of the quality of life enjoyed by most of Wisconsin's 5.4 million residents.1 At least a half dozen Wisconsin cities are regularly included on the list, and Madison, the state's capital city, is often ranked number one.2 Among the factors that contribute to the strong rankings ...

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2. The Constitution

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pp. 32-55

Like the U.S. Constitution, state constitutions are compacts between the governed and their governors. State constitutions delineate the rights of citizens, establish the basic governmental institutions, distribute powers among those institutions, and define how the process of electing the people's representatives will work. State constitutions are also legal and political ...

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3. The Legislature

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pp. 56-90

Wisconsin's capital city, Madison, is a congenial setting for lawmaking.1 The city's downtown is located on an isthmus between Lakes Mendota and Monona, and the Capitol occupies a hill near the center of this isthmus. The Capitol is graced by a large and beautiful dome, and its four wings extend out from the building's center toward the four points of the compass. ...

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4. The Governor

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pp. 91-115

The twentieth century opened with Robert M. La Follette Sr. taking office as governor of Wisconsin; it ended with Tommy G. Thompson concluding his thirteenth year in the executive office. La Follette is the most important and Thompson is the most powerful of the governors in Wisconsin's history. The juxtaposition of these two men puts into sharp relief the competing currents ...

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5. The Courts

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pp. 116-136

There are two competing views of courts in American political thought and in the practice of American politics.1 One is the belief that the courts' role is to settle legal disputes in an impartial and evenhanded manner, with the underlying presumption that courts can perform this role only if they are insulated from politics. The other is the belief that courts, like ...

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6. Private Interests and Interest Groups

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pp. 137-159

In journalistic and scholarly writings about the American economic and political systems, the relationship between the public interest and private interests is sometimes presented as complementary and at other times as competitive. The "muckrakers," the investigative journalists who helped to usher in the Progressive era during the early 1900s, documented the damaging effects that ...

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7. Political Parties and Elections

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pp. 160-187

Freely contested elections are essential for democratic politics, and political parties are generally regarded as the vehicles through which electoral competition is organized.1 At a minimum, political parties are supposed to give voters the opportunity to choose between the "ins" of one party and the "outs" of another.2 A more elevated view holds that competition between ...

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8. The State Budget and the Budgetary Process

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pp. 188-210

A state's budget usually reflects the priorities of its citizens and elected officials, and Wisconsin's Progressive tradition is clearly visible in the amount of money the state spends, the way it spends the money, and in the way it distributes tax burdens. The state's comparatively high level of spending reflects a long-standing commitment to an active governmental role ...

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9. Social Welfare Policy

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pp. 211-240

Since the early 1900s Wisconsin has had a national reputation for being a leader in the development of social welfare policy and administration. The list of major social welfare innovations that Wisconsin initiated during the early 1900s, 1930s, 1960s, and 1970s shows that this reputation is well deserved. Most of these innovations, like those pioneered by the state in ...

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10. Local Government

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pp. 241-265

The preceding nine chapters of this book have dealt primarily with the institutions and operations of Wisconsin's state government and the public policy developed through those institutions. This chapter focuses on local governments. As noted in chapter 1, "The Character of the State," local governments in Wisconsin play a key role in supporting the special quality of ...

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11. State-Local Relations

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pp. 266-289

In both historical and contemporary terms, state and local government in Wisconsin have been closely linked as partners. Local officials appropriately say that they serve on the front lines when it comes to service delivery, and this fact has traditionally been understood and accepted in the State Capitol. Indeed, a distinctive feature of the state-local relationship in Wisconsin ...

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12. Wisconsin in the Federal System

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pp. 290-317

In this chapter, Wisconsin's government and politics are examined within the context of the American federal and intergovernmental system. As noted in previous chapters,Wisconsin's institutional and policy experiments throughout the twentieth century made the state an important "laboratory of democracy." This point is underscored by the fact that the twentieth century ...

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13. Continuing Traditions and Emerging Issues

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pp. 318-326

In popular culture, Wisconsin is known as America's Dairyland, the Badger State, and the home of the Green Bay Packers. In the study of government and politics, however, Wisconsin is known as The Progressive State and for its role as a laboratory of democracy within the American federal system. Since the early 1900s, when Robert M. La Follette and the Progressives ...

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14. Studying Wisconsin Politics and Government: A Guide to Resources

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pp. 327-350

Any author who wants to write about Wisconsin has the benefit of an enormous body of source material on most topics. There is wonderful literature on the historical settlement of the state; Wisconsin's geography and climate; the state's economic development; the development of the state's governmental institutions; and its public policy innovations. At the ...

Notes

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pp. 351-398

Index

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pp. 399-416