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#AceNewsRoom With ‘Kindness & Wisdom’ June.22, 2022 @acehistorynews
#AceHistoryDesk – Bull Moose Party Born: On the evening of June 22, 1912, former President Theodore Roosevelt asked his supporters to leave the floor of the Republican National Convention in Chicago. Republican progressives reconvened in Chicago’s Orchestra Hall and endorsed the formation of a national progressive party.
When formally launched later that summer, the new Progressive Party chose Roosevelt as its presidential nominee. Questioned by reporters, Roosevelt said he felt as strong as a “bull moose.” Thenceforth known as the “Bull Moose Party,” the Progressives promised to increase federal regulation and protect the welfare of ordinary people.
Roosevelt maintained that President William Howard Taft had allowed fraudulent seating of delegates in order to capture the presidential nomination from progressive forces within the party. However, the rift between the progressive and conservative wings of the Republican Party was apparent even before Roosevelt left office. Roosevelt’s support of government regulation, his groundbreaking efforts in conservation and consumer protection, and his willingness to work with organized labor alienated pro-business party members. When Roosevelt tapped Taft as his successor in 1908, he had assumed that Taft would continue to support his agenda. Although Taft’s record suggested a leader sympathetic to reform, the former jurist’s quiet demeanor and attention to the letter of the law irritated Roosevelt and disappointed Republican progressives.
Roosevelt ran for a third term in 1912—in a presidential campaign that was bitterly fought and easily won. With the Republican Party divided, progressive Democrat Woodrow Wilson captured the presidency handily. Although he failed to become chief executive again, Roosevelt succeeded in his vendetta against Taft who received just twenty-three percent of the popular vote compared to Roosevelt’s twenty-seven percent.
Despite an impressive showing in 1912, the Bull Moose Party failed to establish itself as a viable third party. Still active on the state level, Progressives did not put forward a presidential candidate again until Wisconsin Senator Robert M. La Follette‘s run in 1924.
Satirizing presidents and presidential hopefuls is an American tradition.
I discovered the Bull Moose Party.
I alone discovered the Moose—
and it would have been a great party
if the people hadn’t discovered the Bull…
But you must admit that the Bull Moose Party during its short but eventful life served this country well.
If it wasn’t for us and mostly me—you wouldn’t have Woodrow Wilson as your president to-day.
Suppose I hadn’t taken the stand I did in Chicago!
Where would we be now?
I had no feeling against Mr. Taft.
He’s a brilliant man—honorable—the highest type of intellectual American but he had one unpardonable fault—he wouldn’t do a damn thing I said.
The first decades of the twentieth century were marked by unprecedented efforts at social and governmental reform.
- Read Today in History features on Progressive Era figures including reformer Grace Abbott, politician William Jennings Bryan, and Illinois governor John Peter Altgeld. Search Today in History on the names Roosevelt, Wilson, and Taft to learn more about the careers of these Progressive Era presidents.
- When Roosevelt decided to run on the Progressive Party ticket, he pushed aside prominent Wisconsin Senator Robert La Follette. La Follette discusses the formation of the Progressive Party in La Follette’s Autobiography; A Personal Narrative of Political Experiences available through the collection Pioneering the Upper Midwest: Books from Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, ca. 1820 to 1910.
- The following collections contain a wealth of images from the period 1900-20:
- Theodore Roosevelt: His Life and Times on Film contains 104 motion pictures relating to the life and times of the former president as well as four sound recordings.
- Select items from the Library of Congress Manuscript Division’s collection of Theodore Roosevelt Papers can be viewed online.
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