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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Historical Essay

The Trial of Chief Oshkosh

The Clash of U.S Law and Indian Legal Tradition

Learn how the trial of Menominee Chief Oshkosh, one of the most famous in Wisconsin history, pitted Indian traditional justice against white man's law.

Evidence of First Feasts

Take a look at some first hand accounts of the ways Native Americans of Wisconsin celebrated their own Thanksgiving ceremonies.

Historical Essay

Death to Capital Punishment

How Wisconsin Eliminated the Death Penalty

Read about the final person to be executed in Wisconsin before the state prohibited the death penalty.

Historical Essay

The Man with the Iron Hand

Learn about explorer Robert de La Salle's iron-handed chief lieutenant, Henri de Tonty, and what resulted in most likely the worst winter of his life.

Historical Essay

Labor Day in Wisconsin

Beyond Beer and Brats

Explore the history of Labor Day celebrations in Wisconsin.

Historical Essay

Eau Claire's Bawdy Past

The Naughty City

Discover Eau Claire's naughty past as a hub of prostitution for the lumbermen looking to support the world's oldest profession.

Speculating on a Dream

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

Historical Essay

Lumberjack Saved Union Fleet

3,000 Dam the Red River

Read this wild story about a Wisconsin Dells lumberjack applying his knowledge of dams to help Union forces escape a Confederate attack.

Historical Essay

The Budget Deficit of 1921

How a New Progressive Governor Repaired the Economy

Read about Governor John J. Blaine's plan to deal with the Budget Deficit of 1921.

Historical Essay

The Origins of Thanksgiving

It's not What You Might Think

Discover the historical evidence of the first Thanksgiving.
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Have Questions?

If you have questions about historical research, please contact our Library Reference Services staff by phone at 608-264-6535 or by email.

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