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William D. Hoard: Wikis


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William D. Hoard

William Dempster Hoard (October 10, 1836 – November 22, 1918) was the 16th Governor of the U.S. state of Wisconsin from 1889 to 1891.[1] He was a member of the Republican Party, but was an outsider and an amateur in politics. He was a leading promoter of the dairy industry, through his weekly magazine Hoard's Dairyman.[2]

In 1889 he asked the legislature to pass the Bennett Law, the state's first compulsory school attendance law. It required all public and private schools to teach major subjects in English. The German Lutherans and Germans Catholics, who each had a large parochial school system that used German-speaking teachers, strenuously objected. Hoard made the extremely controversial law the centerpiece of his reelection campaign, rejecting the advice of professional politicians that it would doom the GOP. The law, and Hoard, were repudiated by the state's large German community. Hoard was defeated in an intense campaign by Democrat George Wilbur Peck, the Yankee mayor of Milwaukee.

The Republican establishment was outraged at Hoard. In turn the moralistic rank and file bridled at the boos rule. Hoard joined forces with Robert M. LaFollette and created the Progressive faction of the state GOP. It propelled LaFollette to the governorship and the U.S. Senate, but Hoard, still an influential publisher, broke with La Follette in 1912.



In honor of Hoard's service to the dairy industry, a statue of Hoard was erected at the head of Henry Mall of the University of Wisconsin–Madison, which was the original core of the agricultural portion of the university.



  • Loren H. Osman, W.D. Hoard: A Man For His Time (1985)

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Political offices
Preceded by
Jeremiah McLain Rusk
Governor of Wisconsin
Succeeded by
George W. Peck


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