Term: Haugen, Nils Pederson 1849 - 1931
lawyer, politician, Congressman, b. Modum, Norway. He migrated to the U.S. with his parents in 1854, and in 1855 settled in Pierce County, Wis. He attended Luther College, Decorah, Iowa, and graduated from the Univ. of Michigan (LL.B., 1874). He set up a law practice at River Falls and served for several years as a court reporter for the 8th and later the 11th judicial circuits. A Republican, Haugen was state assemblyman (1879-1880), and was state railroad commissioner (1882-1887). In Jan., 1887, Haugen was elected to Congress in a special election held to fill the full-term vacancy caused by the death of William T. Price (q.v.), who died before taking his seat in Congress. Haugen took office in Mar., 1887, was three times re-elected, and served from Mar., 1887, to Mar., 1895. In 1894 Haugen was induced to run for the Republican nomination for governor in the first open conflict between the Progressive and Stalwart factions of the party. Defeated, he returned to his law practice in River Falls, but in 1901 was appointed by Governor Robert M. La Follette, Sr. (q.v.), as a member of the Wisconsin tax commission. As a member of the tax commission (1901-1921), he was instrumental in setting up rates and bases for assessments and for implementing the graduated state income tax. He won national renown as a tax expert, but gradually became alienated from the La Follette faction, the complete break coming in 1917 over the war issue. He was president of the National Tax Association (1919-1920), and adviser to the board of equalization of Montana (1921- 1923). One of the most prominent figures in the Progressive movement, Haugen wrote several reminiscences of his political life. After 1923 he lived in retirement in Madison. Biog. Dir. Amer. Cong. (1928); R. S. Maxwell, La Follette and the Rise of the Progressives . . . [Madison, 1956]; Wis. Mag. Hist., 11, 12, 13; Wis. BIue Book (1887); Madison Wis. State journal, Apr. 23, 1931; N. P. Haugen Papers.
The Wisconsin Historical Society has manuscripts related to this topic. See the catalog description of the Nils Pederson Haugen Papers for details.
View a related article at Wisconsin Magazine of History Archives.
[Source: Dictionary of Wisconsin biography]