1913 Governor of Wisconsin FRANCIS E. McGOVEN "Perry's Victory Centennial Gold Medal" NGC MS62 Unique
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1913 Governor of Wisconsin FRANCIS E. McGOVEN "Perry's Victory Centennial Gold Medal" NGC MS62 Unique

1913 Governor of Wisconsin FRANCIS E. McGOVEN "Perry's Victory Centennial Gold Medal" NGC MS62
The War of 1812 didn’t go too well for the U.S.A. Even though our capital city was captured and burned we did survive the war as a nation. Perry’s defeat of the British naval forces on Lake Erie in 1813 was a major accomplishment that made Master Commandant Oliver Hazard Perry a national hero. One century later in 1913 Perry’s Victory Centennial Celebration was a national event. Members of the Wisconsin National Guard and other military contingents that were sent to the event were given large bronze medals. This medal in gold was presented FRANCIS E. McGovern Governor of Wisconsin by the Commission
Obverse illustrating Perry's warship, the USS Niagara, flanked by "18" and "13" (the date 1813) with the inscription "DON'T GIVE UP THE SHIP" (the dying command of James Lawrence in 1813 aboard the USS Chesapeake and the words on Oliver Hazard Perry's battle flag) below, framed by a circle of eighteen stars representing the number of American states at the time, reverse with an open-ended wreath and inscribed "THE WISCONSIN PERRY'S VICTORY CENTENNIAL MEDAL 1913", 38.3 mm, maker "J.K. DAVISON PHILA" 

Francis Edward McGovern was a lawyer, politician and governor. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1890, studied law and was admitted to the Wisconsin bar in 1897.


A Progressive Republican, he made his reputation as district attorney for Milwaukee County from 1905 to 1909. He was an unsuccessful candidate for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senator in 1908. In 1910, he was elected governor and served two terms. During his first term, much of the progressive program was brought to fruition, including legislation to establish a practical income tax program, workmen's compensation, regulation of child and woman's labor, cooperatives and the curtailment of corrupt political practices.


Robert M. La Follette, Sr. and McGovern had maintained outward harmony before 1912. But the growing power of McGovern led to a clash that came to a climax in the Republican national convention of 1912. McGovern worked for a coalition of Roosevelt and La Follette forces in an attempt to defeat Taft. La Follette denounced him as a "traitor." The incident created a gulf between Wisconsin Progressives.

In 1912, McGovern was re-elected with the reluctant support of La Follette. But McGovern's second term was ineffectual because of the opposition of La Follette's men in the legislature. The same opposition contributed to McGovern's defeat in the senatorial campaign of 1914. During World War I, he served in the judge advocate's office of the 18th army division and rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel. In 1920, he was appointed general counsel for the U.S. shipping board and claims chairman of the U.S. Emergency Fleet Corporation. McGovern returned to private law practice in Milwaukee. He maintained his political ambitions. During the 1930s he was chairman of the committee on crime and criminal justice of the Wisconsin Conference of Social Work. He was an unsuccessful candidate for governor on the Democratic ticket in 1940. 

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