“It is difficult, indeed, to overestimate the part which the university has played in the Wisconsin revolution. For myself, I owe what I am and what I have done largely to the inspiration I received while there. It was not so much the actual course of study which I pursued; it was rather the spirit of the institution–a high spirit of earnest endeavor, a spirit of fresh interest in new things, and beyond all else a sense that somehow the state and the university were intimately related, and that they should be of mutual service.”
“The guiding spirit of my time, and the man to whom Wisconsin owes a debt greater than it can ever pay, was its President, John Bascom.
John Bascom, Pres. University of Wisconsin, 1874-1887
“I never saw Ralph Waldo Emerson, but I should say that John Bascom was a man of much his type, both in appearance and in character. He was the embodiment of moral force and moral enthusiasm; and he was in advance of his time in feeling the new social forces and in emphasizing the new social responsibilities…
“In those days we did not so much get correct political and economic views, for there was then less teaching of sociology or political economy worthy the name, but what we somehow did get, and largely from Bascom, was a proper attitude toward public affairs…” (p.28)
“In all my fights in Wisconsin, the university and the students have always stood firmly behind me. In a high sense the university has been the repository of progressive ideas; it has always enjoyed both free thought and free speech…” (p.29)
La Follette’s Autobigraphy: A personal narrative of political experiences.” Robert M. La Follette .Madison, WI: The Robert M. La Follette Co. 1911, 1913.