Wisconsin's first attempt to pass legislation certifying accountants occurred in 1901, the beginning of the La Follette era. Overwhelmed by the issues of the day, this first bill died and another was not introduced until the incorporation of the Wisconsin Association of Accountants in 1905. Subsequent legislation failed to pass each year until 1913 when a bill was finally signed by Governor Francis McGovern. The details of these efforts hint at political rivalries and professional dedication. This paper attempts to relate not only the documentary history of these bills, but also to convey a sense of the underlying debates.

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