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No Laws for Early WI Legislators

There is a fascinating bit in Odd Wisconsin today. It seems "that for the first few years of Wisconsin's existence, not even legislators could get their hands on a copy of the laws."

"They certainly tried. When Wisconsin was created as a territory on July 4, 1836, the laws of Michigan Territory as printed in the Revised Statues of Michigan remained in force, but few copies of this book had ever left Detroit."

After two attempts to have copies printed, "the frustrated legislators - who had started passing laws in 1836 and more than two years later still hadn't got a reliable printed version of them-- sent a messenger from Madison to Green Bay to search for copies of the Michigan statutes, and 'to procure for the use of the legislature such numbers as may be had of copies of these laws.' At least that way they'd have some part of the laws to refer to during their deliberations."

Eventually, "they formed a committee to put together from scratch a new and revised edition of the complete laws of Wisconsin Territory, to be published in 1839."

For more, see Cole, Theodore L. "A Rare Wisconsin Book." Wisconsin Historical Collections 12: 383-389

Incidentally, the UW Law Library has several copies of the delayed 1836 Clarke edition. Better late than never, I guess.