Robert M. LaFollette: The Radical in Politics
CHARLES A. MADISON
IN AN EVALUATION of the 1924 candidates for the Presidency, William Allen White wrote about "Fighting Bob" LaFollette: "He is a man of the highest personal character. Personally he is incorruptible. Politically he is immovable in his determination to battle in his finish fight for what he deems a just and righteous cause."1 Indeed, for more than thirty years LaFollette had distinguished himself from most other liberals not only by his persistent radicalism but by his steadfast fight for principles in the face of, at times, almost universal condemnation. So firm was his belief in democracy that political success whetted rather than warped his humanitarian goal.
Robert Marion LaFollette, son of Huguenot and Scotch-Irish pioneers, was born in Primrose, Wisconsin, on June 14, 1855. Eight months later his father died, and his widowed mother worked hard