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March 2010 Odd Wisconsin

Threats and Violence in Congress

This week's news reports of violence and death threats against lawmakers who voted for the health care bill recalls the vicious attacks in Congress that preceded the Civil War. Wisconsin was at the center of one of them. A bloody melee broke out in Congress on February 8, 1858, that brought fame to Congressman John F. Potter . The House...
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Posted in Bizarre Events on March 24, 2010

Juliet Severance, Radical Victorian

We like to think that hippies invented free love, utopian communes, and health food in the 1960s, but as the author of Ecclesiastes remarked, there's nothing new under the sun. Like most others, those ideas have a history, and some of their proponents are part of our Wisconsin heritage. Whitewater physician Juliet Severance was born in western New York in...
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Posted in Odd Lives on March 17, 2010

Break Down the Doors!

This week marked the anniversary of the most famous civil rights event in Wisconsin history. On March 10, 1854, a Missouri slave owner appeared in Racine and demanded that Joshua Glover be turned over to him under the U.S. Fugitive Slave Law. The authorities arrested Glover, but anti-slavery feeling ran so high in Racine that they didn't dare to hand...
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Posted in Curiosities on March 11, 2010

"For the Love of Karl Marx...!"

In 1910, when Emil Seidel became the first socialist mayor in the U.S., he faced a tough challenge. He took office in Milwaukee with a wealth of progressive ideas for reform -- and passionate adversaries who opposed them. He quickly found himself battling his predecessor's appointees, including the city's police chief, fire chief, and health commissioner, over political issues. Then...
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Posted in Curiosities on March 4, 2010

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