- La Follette, Robert Marion, Jr.
- (1895-1953)The son of the famous progressive politician of the same name, Robert M. La Follette Jr. was born in Madison, Wisconsin, and attended the University of Wisconsin from 1913 to 1916 before leaving to become a clerk and then his father’s secretary. When La Follette Sr. died in 1925, his son won the election to fill the vacant seat, and he held it as a Republican until 1947. Despite his party affiliation, after 1929 La Follette was highly critical of Herbert Hoover and supported many New Deal measures. In 1934, he joined his brother Philip in forming the Wisconsin Progressive Party and was reelected on that platform in 1934 and 1940. La Follette did not think Franklin D. Roosevelt went far enough and called for more radical measures. From 1936 on, he chaired the Senate Committee on Education and Labor and the La Follette Civil Liberties Committee, and he exposed the lengths large business corporations went to and the violence used against trade union organizations, like the Memorial Day Massacre in Chicago in 1937. He was an isolationist and a founding member of the America First Committee in 1940, but he did not vote against the war. In 1946, La Follette was responsible for the introduction of the Congressional Reorganization Act that helped to streamline the legislative process. However, having rejoined the Republicans, he was defeated by Joseph McCarthy in the primary election of 1946, and in 1953 he committed suicide.
Historical Dictionary of the Roosevelt–Truman Era . Neil A. Wynn . 2015.