As critical as competition is in our lives and in the unprecedented success of our country, few of us understand the first thing about it. We don’t know its origins, why it pushes us forward, why some people are more competitive than others or why artificial constraints on competition will stifle an entire population.

A Special Report: We sent historian John Gurda across the state to size up where Wisconsin is today, what it is thinking and what it wants.

Trends paint the picture of modern legislators who work less, grow older in office and are less likely to lose their seat in a general election. In effect, for a large number of legislators, their legislative job has become their career.

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