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Robert La Follette: A Featured Biography


Robert M. La Follette by Robert Chester La Follette

When asked to name the five most illustrious senators in history, a Senate committee led by John F. Kennedy included in that elite group Republican Robert La Follette of Wisconsin (1855-1925). Independent and impassioned, La Follette championed such progressive reform measures as regulation of railroads, direct election of senators, and worker protection, while opposing American entry into World War I and condemning wartime restrictions on free speech. He initiated the investigation into the Teapot Dome scandal of the early 1920s and ran for president on the Progressive Party ticket in 1924. In choosing La Follette as one of the "Famous Five" in 1957, the Kennedy committee described him as a "ceaseless battler for the underprivileged" and a "courageous independent" who never wavered from his progressive reform goals.

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