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Robert M. La Follette Photograph by Arnold Genthe, 1912. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-G3999-0089-A).

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La Follette, Robert Marion (14 June 1855–18 June 1925), Wisconsin governor, U.S. congressman, and Progressive presidential candidate, was born in Primrose, Wisconsin, the son of Josiah La Follette and Mary Ferguson Buchanan, farmers. Only eight months old when his father died, La Follette throughout his life sought to measure up to an idealized image of the father he never knew. He was seven when his mother married John Z. Saxton, a stern, elderly merchant and Baptist deacon....

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William Lemke Announcing his candidacy for president, 1936. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-95941).

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Lemke, William Frederick (13 August 1878–30 May 1950), agrarian leader, congressman, and presidential candidate, was born in Albany, Minnesota, and raised in Towner County, North Dakota, the son of Fred Lemke and Julia Anna Klier, pioneer farmers who were successful enough to accumulate some 2,700 acres of land. The young Lemke worked long hours on the family farm, attending a common school for only three months in the summers. The family did, however, reserve enough money to send William to the University of North Dakota, where he was a superior student. Graduating in 1902, he stayed at the state university for the first year of law school but moved to Georgetown University, then to Yale, where he finished work on his law degree and won the praise of the dean....

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Mo Udall. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

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Udall, Morris K. (15 June 1922–12 December 1998), congressman, environmental leader, and presidential candidate, nicknamed "Mo", congressman, environmental leader, and presidential candidate, nicknamed “Mo,” was born Morris King Udall in St. Johns, Arizona, the son of Levi S. Udall, a Mormon leader and later chief justice of the Arizona Supreme Court, and Louise Lee Udall. He was the fourth of six children. At age six, he lost his right eye while playing with a knife. His handicap proved to be hardly an obstacle as he became a star athlete, editor of the school paper, and student body president. Udall attended the University of Arizona in Tucson from 1941 to 1942 but left to enter the U.S. Army in World War II, rising to captain in the Army Air Forces. He commanded an all-black squadron while based in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Returning to the university in 1946, he pursued a law degree and earned honors as an all-Border Conference basketball player. He played professional basketball for the Denver Nuggets in the 1947–1948 season. In 1949 he married Patricia J. Emery; they would have six children and divorce in 1966....

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Weaver, James Baird (12 June 1833–06 February 1912), soldier and politician, was born in Dayton, Ohio, the son of Abram Weaver and Susan Imlay, farmers. The son and grandson of pioneer settlers, James Weaver grew up in a frontier setting that later would inform his agrarian politics. He spent most of his early childhood on a farm in Michigan, then moved with his family to the Iowa Territory in 1842. The Weavers settled on newly opened Indian lands in what would become Davis County. In 1847 Abram Weaver was elected clerk of the district court, and the family moved to the county seat of Bloomfield. For three years James Weaver rode a primitive mail delivery route that had been contracted out to his father; then he returned to school and began reading law with a local attorney. In 1853 Weaver accompanied his brother-in-law on a profitable overland cattle drive to California, but after a brief experience with western mining he returned home determined to renew his studies. He entered Cincinnati Law School in 1855, and after graduating the following year he established a legal practice in Bloomfield. He married Clara Vinson, a schoolteacher, in July 1858; the couple had seven children....