The election of 1912 was one of the most exciting elections in American history. Woodrow Wilson was the victor in the three-way race with Theodore Roosevelt, who had already served almost two full terms as President, and the incumbent William Howard Taft. At stake in 1912 were three competing philosophies: Wilson's New Freedom, Theodore Roosevelt's New Nationalism, and William Howard Taft's conservative Republicanism.
Bill, I support you to be our next prez! Yeaaa! TR supports Taft in 1908 Election
Taft after winning election as president in 1908 William Howard Taft Better known for his weight than for his presidency. 6’-2” tall, 330 lbs.
Prior to President, served as
Governor of Philippines
TR’s Secretary of War
Taft As president, made significant Progressive accomplishments
Filed twice as many anti-trust suits as TR
Expanded TR’s program of conserving public lands
created Children's Bureau within Labor Dept.
Pushed the Mann-Elkins Act of 1910 (increased Fed. Gov’t’s power to regulate railroads )
Submitted proposal for corporate income tax and pushed a constitutional amendment to permit an individual income tax .
So, why didn’t TR like him anymore?
Taft Wasn’t the best politician in bringing sides together
Supported lower trade tariffs, yet Senate saw it otherwise
Appointed a Sec. of Interior (Richard Ballinger) who wanted to sell federal land to developers
Fired TR’s Forest Service head Gifford Pinchot, who criticized Ballinger’s actions
Supported re-election of Joe Cannon, “Old Guard” Republican speaker of House, in return for conservative support on other issues in Congress. (Cannon went on to weaken or ignore Progressive bills in House.)
By 1910 mid-term elections, Republican party splits ideologically “ Old Guard” vs. Progressives
The “New Nationalism” Roosevelt returns from African Safari, gives impassioned speech. “… This New Nationalism regards the executive power as the steward of the public welfare. It demands of the judiciary that it shall be interested primarily in human welfare rather than in property, just as it demands that the representative body shall represent all the people rather than any one class or section of the people….”
Increase Strength of Fed. Gov’t.
Strong Executive (President)
Represent people, not interests
Caption “ THE INDIAN MEDICINE SHOW : The Populace is Privileged to Step Up and Buy at Any Time.” Nov. 2, 1910
I’m not happy with your performance. I’m going to run for president again. Oh, yeah?! Just you try. I’m the incumbent. As 1912 Election Approaches
I don’t need Republican support. I’m “as strong as a bull moose.” #*@&! Meanwhile… Democrats nominate Woodrow Wilson I support Progressive Reforms
Voters’ Choices: 1912 Wilson : Democrat (Progressive) (Limited Fed. Gov’t Power – more local control; return to competition among small and medium-size businesses) Taft : Conservative Republican / Progressive Roosevelt : Progressive (Strong Central Gov’t, making it a strong agent for reform with big business) Eugene Debs : Socialism (End Capitalism; labor organizer)