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1922 Encyclopædia Britannica/Wisconsin

WISCONSIN (see 28.740). In 1920 the pop. was 2,632,067, as compared with 2,333,860, in 1910, an increase of 298,207, or 12.8%, the state holding its rank of thirteenth. The density of pop. in 1920 was 47.6 per sq. m.; in 1910 it was 42.2. The proportion of urban pop. increased from 43% in 1910 to 47.3% in 1920. The following table shows the growth of pop. of those cities having 25,000 inhabitants:—

1920 1910  Percentage 
increase




 Milwaukee   457,147   373,857  22.3 
 Racine 58,593  38,002  54.2 
 Kenosha 40,472  21,371  89.4 
 Superior 39,671  40,384  -1.8 
 Madison 38,378  25,531  50.3 
 Oshkosh 33,162  33,062  0.3 
 Green Bay  31,017  25,236  22.9 
 Sheboygan  30,955  26,398  17.3 
 La Crosse  30,421  30,417 

Agriculture.—The cultivated acreage was in 1919 8,979,000; in 1909 7,980,000. The number of farms in 1920 was 189,295; in 1900 169,795. These increases were due mostly to frontier advance. In the older part of the state, farms tended to become larger and fewer. Of the farms 84.3% were in 1920 in the hands of their owners. These farms produced in 1909 crops worth $138,000,000 and live-stock products worth $260,922,000; in 1919 $445,000,000 and $371,791,000, respectively. The food product per acre increased since 1885 37% as contrasted with 21% for the United States as a whole. The statistics of special crops year by year are meaningless if taken individually, as there is great yearly fluctuation owing largely to the confidence felt by the farmers in the market forecasts furnished in the Bulletins of the University of Wisconsin. For instance, in 1917 the university had advised increased tobacco acreage. When war was declared wheat was advised instead, and an unusual amount planted. This wheat acreage was later returned to other crops. There were in 1920 more silos than in any other state, Wisconsin seed had acquired a reputation and a market, and canning factories, creameries, etc., situated near the point of production, fitted raw products for the market. Relatively the leading feature was dairying, in which Wisconsin stood first among the states. The increase in dairy cows from 1,474,000 in 1910 to 2,180,000 in 1920 was attended by great improvement in quality.

Manufactures.—The total value of manufactured products ($695,172,002 in 1914) was not much below that of farm products, but the value added by manufacture was only $277,756,928. The number of establishments rose from 8,558 in 1904 to 9,104 in 1914. Between the same years the number of workers rose from 173,572 to 230,272. The Lake Michigan region showed the greatest growth, owing to the greater cheapness of coal, which is all brought into the state. The great increase in the use of water-power was chiefly for lighting and transportation. In certain industries closely related to agriculture there was a tendency toward decentralization. The manufacture of farm products took first place, although flour decreased, and beet-sugar remained stationary. This position was due chiefly to the expansion of the dairy interests, butter, cheese, condensed and malted milk, etc. In 1880 the lumber cut was 1,542,021,000 ft., mostly white pine; in 1918 1,275,000,000 ft., largely hard wood. The value of lumber products in 1914 was $55,363,000; 473,840 tons of wood pulp for paper, worth $22,049,498, was produced. In 1914 Wisconsin ranked fifth among the states in the value of furniture produced, its value being $22,586,531. Leather remained in 1914 the fourth industry in the state, with a product of $55,362,511. Foundry and machine-shop products were in 1914 $60,698,000, a 12.1% increase over 1909.

Mines and Quarries.—The output of iron ore grew steadily, reaching 1,167,640 tons in 1918. The production of pig-iron increased rapidly, being in 1900 184,794 tons, and in 1919 605,619 tons.

Forests.—The forests still constituted in 1920 one of the great resources of the state, but of decreasing importance both absolute and relative. Measures for fire protection were increasingly effective. Surveys were in progress to determine what of the cut-over region should be reforested and what turned to farm land. The earliest Wisconsin industry, the fur trade, still produced, in 1918, a value of $669,005.20.

Fisheries.—The development of the fisheries was constant. New hatcheries were established at Spooner for pike, at Sturgeon Bay for white fish, and at Sheboygan for blue fin. In 1918 247,079,876 eggs were distributed. The commercial fishing was mostly in the Great Lakes where the catch in 1918 was valued at $792,040. This was less important than the sport fishing under licence in the rivers and streams.

Transportation and Commerce.—The railway mileage in 1917 was 7,667. It varied from year to year owing to the laying and taking up of logging lines. The main system had been complete for years, the state standing fourteenth in the proportion of mileage to area. About 1900 there began a movement for interurban electric lines, and a system was developed extending from the southern boundary to Janesville and to Milwaukee, and up the Fox river valley. In 1919 the mileage of all electric roads, urban and interurban, was 760. There was no recent extension of the interurban system, and suburban extension was less after 1910 than before, owing to the increased use of automobiles. In 1920 there were 277,093 automobiles, and 16,205 motor-trucks in the state. This development of automobile traffic occasioned a demand for better roads, and extensive plans were in process of completion. In the years 1912-8 $23,086,152 was voted for highway construction by local, county

and state authorities. Concrete roads proved successful where the foundation was placed below the frost line.

Government.—A constitutional amendment in 1910 granted the state power to acquire and develop water powers and forests; one in 1912 regulated the borrowing capacity of cities and incorporated villages; another in 1912 gave the state powers for creating a park system; and one in 1920 for the enforcement of the prohibition amendment to the U.S. Constitution. In 1911 the salaries of justices of the Supreme Court were increased to $7,500. A law of 1915 allowed voting by absentee electors under certain circumstances, and one of 1918 arranged for voting by enlisted soldiers. The following state boards and commissions were created in or after 1905; Accountancy (1913), Compensation Insurance (1917), Conservation (1915), Engineering Department (1915), Grain and Warehouse (1905), Health (reconstituted 1913), Highways (1911), Industrial (1911), besides boards of examination for licences for architects, boxers, barbers, plumbers, etc., and ex-officio boards.

Miscellaneous Laws.—The cigarette prohibition law was repealed (1915), and the laws directed against out-of-the-state insurance companies were modified. A workmen's compensation law was passed in 1911. A law of 1917 provided for the sterilization of defectives and laws of 1913, 1915, 1917 provided for an ante-nuptial physical examination for men.

Finance.—In 1918 there was raised for general state purposes $14,281,216, the largest item of income being $5,370,305 from the railway companies; of the total, $5,986,661 was returned to the counties in aid of schools, tuberculosis sanatoriums, highways, etc. The tax levy of 1918 produced $12,142,121 for the use of counties, $22,580,567 for cities, towns and villages, and $16,444,671 were school and school district rates. The state income taxes of 1916, paid in 1917, amounted to $9,482,595, of which $603,762 went to the state and the rest to localities in lieu of the general property tax.

Education.—In 1915 a State Board of Education was provided to correlate the educational undertakings of the state. The most important new departure was with reference to vocational education, for which a Board was provided in 1915. A law of 1917 increased the effectiveness of compulsory education for those between 9 and 14; in 1915 aid in transportation was provided for those attending school at a distance from home; 32 cities in 1920 maintained continuation schools. In 1920 the total educational expense by the state and localities was $25,901,282; $2,779,072 for the university, $1,427,959 for normal schools, $10,024,095 for city schools, and $11,361,692 for town and country schools, toward which a great effort at improvement was being made.

History.—Gov. McGovern, elected in 1911, continued the progressive policy inaugurated by Gov. La Follette. The activities of the state Government were increased, their administration being given to commissions composed in part at least of recognized experts, and similar commissions were given power of supervision and control over private activities. The extension of this policy led to a reaction in 1914 and Emanuel Phillip was elected governor on a somewhat reactionary programme. The break, however, proved to be less violent than many expected, and the main features of the legislation of the preceding 10 years were continued. The outbreak of the World War divided sentiment in the state perhaps more than elsewhere in the country. In the 'fifties some German leaders had hoped to make the state essentially German and a centre in America for the development of German culture, as New England was for English Puritanism, but turned to liberalism. This project had failed, but a large element in the state was German-born or of German parentage, and many communities retained German habits and language, and educated their children in Catholic or Lutheran schools conducted in German. While this element was by no means solid in sentiment, the majority sympathized with Germany as opposed to Great Britain and her Allies. When the question arose of the entrance of the United States into the war, this element was opposed to it, and was reënforced by a powerful sentiment in favour of peace. The national representation of the state was divided. Senator La Follette voiced the peace sentiments, and was one of those characterized by President Wilson as “a little group of wilful men.” Senator Husting, a Democrat, supported the Wilson administration. The death of Senator Husting necessitated a senatorial election in the spring of 1918, which attracted wide attention as a test of public opinion in the state which was thought least likely to support the war. An active campaign of education was conducted, by means of pamphlets, speeches and organization. The result was the choice in the Republican primaries of Irvine L. Lenroot, who was pledged to support the Administration in its war policy, and who defeated the Democratic candidate in the election which followed. Later Senator Lenroot broke with President Wilson on his peace policy, taking a stand for moderate reservations in the plan for a League of Nations. This stand was endorsed by his reëlection for the regular senatorial term in 1920, when the state gave a large majority also to Harding. In the gubernatorial election of that year, the successful candidate, Mr. Blaine, represented in general the La Follette views, maintaining that the stand taken by that senator was not disloyal, but legitimate opposition. Although many regretted the necessity of fighting Germany, the number who failed to support the United States was negligible.

Gov. Phillip proved an efficient war administrator, working in harmony with the national officials and organizing extremely effective state and local machinery to handle the problems that constantly arose. The state met and exceeded every demand made upon it, for men and for money; the draft was put into operation with success; the administrative effectiveness which had been developed in the preceding 10 years was everywhere in evidence. Wisconsin troops repeated the record they had made in the Civil War. A war history commission planned to put the war record in substantial shape for the future. The Wisconsin National Guard served on the Mexican frontier, 1916-7, and was called into national service for the World War in 1917; its aggregate strength, Aug. 4 1917 was 15,266. The losses of troops from Wisconsin in France were given as 5,735; 71,790 were accepted at camp under the draft laws. To the five Liberty loans $471,194,250 was subscribed. The United War Work Campaign of 1918 produced $4,546,706. Besides this a million had been raised for the Y.M.C.A., nine millions and a quarter for the Red Cross; 8,503 French orphans were adopted, and generous contributions made to all causes of war aid and relief.

The governors of Wisconsin after 1911 were: F. C. McGovern, Republican, 1911-5; Emanuel Phillip, Republican, 1915-21; John J. Blaine, Republican, 1921-.

Bibliography.—Recent works on Wisconsin are: H. C. Campbell, etc., Wisconsin in Three Centuries (4 vols., 1905); E. B. Usher, Wisconsin, Its Story and Biography (8 vols., 1914); F. C. Howe, Wisconsin, an Experiment in Democracy (1912); C. McCarthy, The Wisconsin Idea (1912); J. B. Winslow, The Story of a Great Court (1912); F. Merk, Economic History of Wisconsin in the Civil War Decade (1916).

(C. R. F.)