Sunday, June 22

TR's Third Party Try

On this day in 1912, Theodore Roosevelt accepted the presidential nomination of the Progressive Party after a power struggle at the Republican Convention disqualified all the Roosevelt delegates thus denying him the nomination--this, despite the fact that TR had handily won every primary.

William Taft, Roosevelt's Republican successor to the White House, had failed to live up to the leadership demands and policies of the former president. Incensed by the inability of Taft to effectively maintain his vision of "progressive conservatism," Roosevelt determined to return to the office of president. He condemned Taft's administration for being too beholden to big business and special interest groups.

Running on a platform consisting of the Ten Commandments, the immensely popular TR sought to promote women's suffrage, limits on government incursion in labor disputes, and the prohibition of child labor. During the general election the Progressive ticket easily out-polled Taft and the Republican establishment, but when wounds from an attempted assassination kept TR from most of the final two months of campaigning, the Democratic candidate, Woodrow Wilson, was able to eke out a victory.

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