1838 – Legislature Assembled in Madison for the First Time

On this date, after moving from the temporary capital in Burlington, Iowa, the assembled in Madison for the first time. Two years earlier, when the territorial legislature had met for the first time in Belmont, many cities were mentioned as possibilities for the permanent capital — Cassville, Fond du Lac, Milwaukee, Platteville, Mineral Point, Racine, Belmont, Koshkonong, Wisconsinapolis, Peru, and Wisconsin City. Madison won the vote, and funds were authorized to erect a suitable building in which lawmakers would conduct the people’s business. Progress went so slowly, however,¬†that some lawmakers wanted to relocate the seat of government to Milwaukee, where they also thought they would find better accomodations than in the wilds of Dane Co. When the legislature¬†finally met in Madison in November 1838 there was only an outside shell to the new Capitol. The interior was not completed until 1845, more than six years after it was supposed to be finished. On November 26, 1838, delivered his first speech in the new seat of government. [Source: Wiskonsan Enquirer, Nov. 24 and Dec. 8, 1838]