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Philip La Follette

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Philip La Follette
27th and 29th Governor of Wisconsin
In office
January 7, 1935 – January 2, 1939
Preceded byAlbert G. Schmedeman
Succeeded byJulius P. Heil
In office
January 5, 1931 – January 2, 1933
LieutenantHenry A. Huber
Preceded byWalter J. Kohler, Sr.
Succeeded byAlbert G. Schmedeman
District Attorney of Dane County
In office
January 1, 1925 – January 1, 1927
Preceded byTheodore G. Lewis
Succeeded byGlenn D. Roberts
Personal details
Philip Fox La Follette

(1897-05-08)May 8, 1897
Madison, Wisconsin, U.S.
DiedAugust 18, 1965(1965-08-18) (aged 68)
Madison, Wisconsin, U.S.
Resting placeForest Hill Cemetery
Madison, Wisconsin
Political party
  • Isabel Bacon
  • (m. 1923–1963; died 1973)
Alma materUniversity of Wisconsin
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Army
Years of service1918, 1942–1945
Lt. Colonel
UnitSouth West Pacific Command

Philip Fox La Follette (May 8, 1897 – August 18, 1965) was an American politician. He was the 27th and 29th Governor of Wisconsin, as well as one of the founders of the Wisconsin Progressive Party.

YouTube Encyclopedic

  • 1/1
  • The New Public Library in LaFollette, Tennessee


Early life and family

La Follette was born in Madison, Wisconsin, a member of the politically prominent La Follette family. He was the son of Wisconsin Congressman, Governor, and U.S. Senator Robert M. "Fighting Bob" La Follette, Sr., and Belle Case La Follette, brother of U.S. Senator Robert M. La Follette, Jr., brother of Fola La Follette, whose husband was the playwright George Middleton, and uncle of Wisconsin Attorney General Bronson La Follette.

La Follette served as a second lieutenant in the United States Army Infantry in 1918, during World War I. In 1919 he received a Bachelor of Arts degree from University of Wisconsin and in 1922 a Bachelor of Laws degree. He married Isabel Bacon (1898–1973) in 1923. They had three children: son Robert (c. 1927), and daughters Judith (c. 1929) and Sherry (1936).

Political career

He was the district attorney for Dane County, Wisconsin, from 1925 to 1927. La Follette was Governor of Wisconsin from 1931 to 1933 and 1935 to 1939. He was first elected as a progressive member of the Republican Party in the 1930 election.

After a defeat in the 1932 Republican Primary, however, La Follette, along with his brother, Robert M. La Follette, Jr., created the Wisconsin Progressive Party and both ran successfully under its ticket in 1934. The gregarious governor was known as "Phil" on the streets of Madison during his governorship, much as his father had been known as simply "Bob". His governorship saw the implementation of many of the progressive measures of the New Deal, with La Follette being responsible for the implementation of some of them on the state level before the Roosevelt Administration could do so on the national level.

La Follette was defeated seeking reelection as governor in 1938. That spring he had attempted to launch the National Progressive Party of America in an attempt to create a national third party (as the La Follettes had helped create in Wisconsin). This party was named the National Progressives of America upon its formation. The goals of the party were to lead a realignment of American politics along more concrete liberal and conservative lines. Despite his efforts, the NPA was unsuccessful and La Follette never held public office after 1939.

Later life and career

La Follette's grave (second from right) at Forest Hill Cemetery

Much as his father opposed U.S. entry into World War I, Phil La Follette strongly opposed, like most other Americans, U.S. entry into World War II. Once war was declared, he abandoned his opposition and joined the U.S. Army, serving on the staff of General Douglas MacArthur. He would later spearhead a slate of delegates to the 1948 Republican National Convention supporting MacArthur's nomination for the presidency. Such a slate included many people La Follette had opposed during the Great Depression, but turned to out of a common interest to support MacArthur, a fact which perplexed many of his contemporaries.

From 1955 to 1959, La Follette served as president of Hazeltine Electronics, and made his home in Douglaston, New York. He later returned to Wisconsin, wrote his autobiography, and was active in the State Historical Society of Wisconsin.

He died in Madison, Wisconsin, and was buried at Forest Hill Cemetery.[1]


  • La Follette, Philip Fox, Adventure in politics: the memoirs of Philip La Follette edited by Donald Young, New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1970.


  1. ^ "Last of Family Triumvirate. Philip La Follette, 68, Dies". Wisconsin State Journal. August 19, 1965. p. 1. Retrieved May 14, 2019 – via Open access icon

Further reading

External links

Party political offices
Preceded by Republican nominee for Governor of Wisconsin
Succeeded by
Preceded by
New party
Progressive nominee for Governor of Wisconsin
1934, 1936, 1938
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Governor of Wisconsin
1931 – 1933
Succeeded by
Preceded by Governor of Wisconsin
1935 – 1939
Succeeded by
Legal offices
Preceded by District Attorney of Dane County, Wisconsin
1925 – 1927
Succeeded by
Glenn D. Roberts
Awards and achievements
Preceded by Cover of Time magazine
22 October 1928
Succeeded by
This page was last edited on 7 May 2024, at 03:05
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