Collage of historical images.

Wisconsin History Essays

Learn something new about the past and gain a deeper understanding of your world. Hundreds of essays tell the stories of the people, places and events that are Wisconsin history.

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Search by keyword below to find information on Wisconsin's history.

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Discover the connection between P.T. Barnum and the 1853 statewide referendum on liquor sales and why it failed.

Join cantankerous British geologist George Featherstonehaugh as travels to Madison in 1837 and finds things not as he expected them to be

Two Lawyers Spur Abolitionist Reform and Universal Voting Rights

Byron Paine and Halbert E. Paine use the power of law as a powerful force for radical abolitionist reform in mid-19th century Wisconsin.

Discover how man-made light evolved

Historical Essay

Bonne Fete, Sieur La Salle!*

Robert de La Salle was on the first expedition to the upper Great Lakes and went on to claim the Mississippi River watershed in the name of France.

Historical Essay

How Madison Became a City

Madison went from a small village in 1836 to being organized and governed as a city in 20 years time

Discover how Wisconsin got it's first printing press.

Morris Pratt was a well known psychic medium whose legacy is his eponymous spiritualist institution in Whitewater, known locally as "Pratt's Folly."

The story of Louise Williams who provided business and legal counsel for women who lived all over southern WI for five decades after the Civil War.
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