January 2007 Odd Wisconsin
Tonight, when Gov. Doyle presents the annual State of the State address, he probably won't open with the line, "Since your last annual session, nothing has transpired." But that's exactly how the 1853 State of the State address by Governor Leonard J. Farwell began. While things in Wisconsin have surely changed since then, the annual address by the governor remains...
Posted in Curiosities on January 29, 2007
In 1886, an aspiring young historian in New York wrote to Wisconsin Historical Society director Lyman Copeland Draper: "Although personally unknown to you, I take the liberty of writing to you. I am now engaged on a work in reference to the extension of our boundaries to the southward from the day when Boone crossed the Alleghanies, to the days...
Posted in Curiosities on January 25, 2007
This week a new Congress debates an unpopular war begun by an incumbent President. Something of the same sort happened more than 150 years ago, when newly elected lawmakers came to Washington upset over President James K. Polk’s Mexican War. Among the leaders of the opposition was a freshman legislator from Illinois named Abraham Lincoln. Here’s the story. Thousands of...
Posted in Curiosities on January 21, 2007
Much fuss was made in the media last week about the supposed commitment in the new Congress to a "pay-as-you-go" fiscal policy. The vast majority of House members pledged to expend only as much money as they have and to make deficit spending difficult. This merely brought them in line with 19th-c. Milwaukee editor and politician Rufus King (1814-1876), who...
Posted in Curiosities on January 7, 2007
Each Wednesday, an entirely different version of Odd Wisconsin runs on the front page of the Local section in the Wisconsin State Journal (like this online version, it is written by Society staff). Two weeks ago that column (given below) poked a bit of fun at Gov. Nelson Dewey (1813-1889), highlighting his eccentricities and calling attention to the odd fact...
Posted in Odd Lives on January 3, 2007