History of the courts

Articles on Wisconsin legal history

Madison Attorney Joseph A. Ranney authored 47 articles on Wisconsin's legal heritage in honor of the state's Sesquicentennial in 1998. The articles cover topics in Wisconsin history beginning in the 1700s, through the territorial days into statehood, the Civil War, World Wars, Industrialization, the Great Depression, and up to the present.

  1. Thomas Jefferson and the Northwest Ordinance
  2. Law and Wisconsin's Indians
  3. James D. Doty: Wisconsin's first judge
  4. Wisconsin's bank wars
  5. The beginnings of Wisconsin's progressive tradition: The 1848 Constitution
  6. Great Wisconsin judges: Edward Whiton
  7. Wisconsin abolishes the death penalty
  8. Byron Paine, Wisconsin's first civil rights leader
  9. Black Wisconsinites' struggle for the vote
  10. The impeachment of Judge Hubbell
  11. The war of the governors: Bashford vs. Barstow
  12. Wisconsin's fight for fugitive slaves: The Booth Case
  13. Chief Justice Dixon and the states right movement
  14. Civil liberties and the Civil War
  15. Legislators for sale: The railroad scandal of 1856
  16. "Will her thoughts be wrapped up in his happiness?"
  17. Lavinia Goodell, Wisconsin's first woman lawyer
  18. Olympia Brown and Wisconsin women's struggle for the vote
  19. Chief Justice Ryan Tames "An empire within an empire"
  20. Great Wisconsin lawyers: Matt Carpenter
  21. Great Wisconsin lawyers: John C. Spooner
  22. Law "on the circuit" in the 19th century
  23. Demon rum and Sunday lager: The temperance movement in Wisconsin
  24. Of Bibles and Bennetts: Battles over language and religion in the 1890s
  25. The Bay View riots and the beginning of the Wisconsin labor movement
  26. The direct primary and the fight against party bossism
  27. Civil service reform and the beginning of Wisconsin's tradition of clean government
  28. Champions of the "Wisconsin Idea": Charles McCarthy
  29. Champions of the "Wisconsin Idea": John R. Commons
  30. Financing reform: The overhaul of Wisconsin's property tax system
  31. How the income tax came to Wisconsin
  32. Taming the jungle of public utilities
  33. Reforming the workplace
  34. The nation's first workers' compensation system
  35. Great Wisconsin judges: John B. Winslow, a "constructive conservative"
  36. Great Wisconsin judges: Roujet D. Marshall
  37. World War I and the assault on free speech in Wisconsin
  38. Victor Berger: A reluctant martyr for free speech
  39. Great Wisconsin judges: Marvin Rosenberry, apostle of administrative law
  40. To help the victim: Wisconsin modernizes its injury law
  41. The Wait case and Equal Rights for Women
  42. The nation's first unemployment compensation law
  43. Beating the Great Depression: Wisconsin's "little New Deal"
  44. Great Wisconsin judges: Edward Fairchild
  45. Traditional values and no-fault divorce
  46. "Looking further than the skin": Wisconsin's struggle over segregation
  47. Attorney Lloyd Barbee

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