"On, Wisconsin!" is the fight song of the Wisconsin Badgers at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. With modified lyrics, it is also the official state song of Wisconsin.

"On, Wisconsin!" was also the cry that Arthur MacArthur, Jr. used in the Battle of Chattanooga at Missionary Ridge, in the Civil War.

History of the songEdit

The tune was composed in 1909 by William T. Purdy, with the intention of entering it into a competition for a new fight song at the University of Minnesota.

Carl Beck, a former University of Wisconsin–Madison student, convinced him to withdraw it from the contest at the last minute and allow his alma mater to use it instead. Beck then wrote the original, football-oriented lyrics, changing the words "Minnesota, Minnesota" to "On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin!"[1] (The eventual winner of the competition became known as the Minnesota Rouser).

The lyrics were rewritten for the state song in 1913 by Judge Charles D. Rosa and J. S. Hubbard. The song was widely recognized as the state song at that time, but was never officially designated. Finally in 1959, "On, Wisconsin!" was codified in Chapter 170, Laws of 1959, and is incorporated in Section 1.10 of the statutes.

"On, Wisconsin!" was regarded by John Philip Sousa as "the finest of college marching songs".[2][3] It has become one of the most popular fight songs in the country, with some 2,500 schools using some variation of it as their school song.[4] Although there are persistent rumors that the rights to the song are owned by Paul McCartney or Michael Jackson, which has even been reported by the Christian Science Monitor,[5] this applies solely to the international rights; the song is actually in the public domain in the United States.[citation needed][6]

Battle Cry Edit

"On, Wisconsin!" was the cry that Arthur MacArthur, Jr. used in the Battle of Chattanooga at Missionary Ridge during the American Civil War. He seized the regimental colors, and rallied his regiment with "On, Wisconsin!", for which he was awarded the Medal of Honor.

University of Wisconsin lyricsEdit

On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin!
Plunge right through that line!
* Run the ball clear down the field,
* (originally "Run the ball clear 'round Chicago")
A touchdown sure this time. (U rah rah)
On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin!
Fight on for her fame
Fight! Fellows! - fight, fight, fight!
We'll win this game.

On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin!
Stand up, Badgers, sing!
"Forward" is our driving spirit,
Loyal voices ring.
On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin!
Raise her glowing flame
Stand, Fellows, let us now
Salute her name!

* Sometimes these lyrics are altered to say "Run the ball clear down the field, boys--touchdown sure this time!"[7]

State song lyricsEdit

On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin!
Grand old Badger State!
We, thy loyal sons and daughters,
Hail thee, good and great.
On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin!
Champion of the right,
"Forward", our motto,
God will give thee might![8]

See alsoEdit


  1. The Minnesota Rouser : Minnesota Marching Band : U of M
  2. McGrath, Hazel (March 1948). "Songs to thee, Wisconsin!". Wisconsin alumnus 49 (6): 16–17. Retrieved January 5, 2009.
  3. Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau (1999). "Wisconsin State Symbols". State of Wisconsin Blue Book (1999-2000). Joint Committee on Legislative Organization. pp. 935. Retrieved 2010-03-23.
  4. "Tradition: School Songs". Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System. 2010. Retrieved 15 March 2010.
  5. When Is Art Free? |
  6. The University of Wisconsin Marching Band - University of Wisconsin Marching Band
  7. Mobile
  8. Chapter 1, Section 9, Wisconsin State Statutes

External linksEdit

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