Progressive Presidency

La Follette for President 1924 Conference Schedule (Subject to revision)

April 25-27, 2024 Wisconsin State Historical Society

A Century of Third Party Independent Progressive Politics: Commemorating the Anniversary of the Progressive Party Campaign of Robert M. La Follette for President of the United States.

“The United States presidential election of 1924 was held on November 4, 1924. Republican Calvin Coolidge defeated Democrat John W. Davis. But also, running as the Progressive Party candidate, Robert M. La Follette captured some one-sixth of the popular vote.”  (

All events will take place in Madison, Wisconsin. The conference will meet at the Wisconsin State Historical Society, 816 State Street. Other event locations are noted in the schedule below.

All events are free of charge except for the Progressive Night Out Fundraising Dinner. Donations to support this conference will be gratefully accepted. Book sales and signing available. At the event we will accept cash, check, and credit card payment.

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Thursday April 25, 2024 

Noon - Exhibit opens for public view - State Historical Society Lobby

2 - 4 pm - “A Moment in History That Reaches Forward to Today” - State Historical Society Auditorium

  • Welcome

Norman Stockwell, Publisher of The Progressive and Christian Øverland, the Ruth and Hartley Barker Director of the Wisconsin State Historical Society

  • “Race, Empire, and a New Progressive Party in the La Follette Campaign of 1924”

Richard Drake - Lucile Speer Research Chair in Politics and History, University of Montana; author of The Education of an Anti-Imperialist: Robert La Follette and U.S. Expansion

  • “La Follette’s 1923 European Tour: Laying Groundwork for the Presidential Campaign”

Nancy Unger - Professor of History at Santa Clara University; author of Belle La Follette Progressive Era Reformer and Fighting Bob La Follette: The Righteous Reformer 

  • “Dynamics of Campaigning – The Legacy of the La Follette Campaign Carries On”

John Nichols (via Zoom) - Contributing writer for The Progressive and The Nation, Associate Editor of The Capital Times newspaper in Madison, Wisconsin

6 pm - Progressive Night Out Fundraising Dinner - The Rickhouse, 931 E. Main Street


  • Special Guest Brian Standing performing as Fighting Bob La Follette
  • Live Music provided by The Firesides (Daniel Libby & Meghan Dudle)

Friday April 26, 2024

9 am - Coffee & Refreshments - State Historical Society Lobby

10 am - Noon - “Progressive Arts and Culture Build a Movement” - State Historical Society Auditorium

  • “Madison Moments: James Weldon Johnson, Paul Robeson, and Alain Locke”

Sandra Adell - Professor of African American Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison

  • “Modernisms and Visual Politics: Artists of the Progressive Era”

Melanie Herzog - Professor Emerita of Art History of Edgewood College; Senior Lecturer in the Department of Art History, Theory, and Criticism at the School of the Art Institute of  Chicago

  • “Politics & Performance: The Role of Theatre in the La Follette Family”

Tavia La Follette - Associate Professor of Theatre Arts, Towson University; Founder of ArtUp; great-granddaughter of Bob and Belle La Follette

Lunch on your own

2 - 4 pm - “Fighting Bob for All Ages” - State Historical Society Auditorium 

  • “Bringing the La Follette Legacy to Young Audiences”

Bob Kann - Author of Belle and Bob La Follette: Partners in Politics

  • “Political Cartoons in the Progressive Era and Developing a La Follette Comic in 2024”

Paul Buhle and Mike Konopacki of Huck/Konopacki Labor Cartoons

  • “What Would La Follette Think About Partisan Gerrymanders?”

Fred Wade, Madison attorney and member of the boards of directors of The Madison Institute

4 - 5:30 pm - Reception - State Historical Society Lobby

7 pm - “Enduring Faith in the Plain People: Evolutionary Moments with Belle” - performance by Tavia La Follette - Arts + Literature Laboratory, 111 S. Livingston Street

Saturday April 27, 2024

10 am - Tour - meet at US Post Office, 2 E. Mifflin Street

  • State Capitol
  • Historical Museum Gift Shop
  • La Follette’s Magazine Headquarters Plaque
  • Forest Hill Cemetery - La Follette Family Plot

7 pm - 100 Years of Progressive Politics -  Barrymore Theatre, 2090 Atwood Avenue

Master of Ceremonies - Norman Stockwell


  • Daniel Libby
  • Tom Kastle
  • Sean Michael Dargan
  • Raging Grannies
  • Si Kahn (via video)

Performance - Tavia La Follette


  • John Nichols
  • Doug La Follette, Secretary of State of Wisconsin 1983-2023
  • Mandela Barnes, Lieutenant Governor of Wisconsin 2019-2023, founder of The Long Run
  • Jim Hightower
  • U.S. Representative Mark Pocan (via video)
  • U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (via video)
  • Additional speakers have been invited