Wisconsin: A History of Leading the Nation for Better or Worse

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History Departments at The Ohio State University and Miami University


Wisconsin doesn't often provide political leadership at the national level, but when it does, it's like that old nursery rhyme about the little girl with the curl right in the middle of her forehead: When it's good it's very, very good, and when it's bad it's horrid. For more than a week, Americans have been following the protests in Madison. Most of the protestors oppose the proposals of their newly elected governor, Scott Walker, especially his effort to curtail the power of public employee unions. They share the view of New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, who says that Walker and his backers are trying to "make Wisconsin—and eventually, America—less of a functioning democracy and more of a third-world-style oligarchy."