The Film Archives: Booknotes With Brian Lamb- James Chace: The Election That Changed The Country- How 1912 Changed American History

Source: The Film Archives- Theodore Roosevelt-
Source: This piece was originally posted at FRS Daily View Plus

The 1912 presidential election was very interesting for many reasons in American politics. More than a hundred years later in a country that is now around 320 million people and yet 1912 was one of our last presidential elections with three major politic parties with the Democratic Party, Republican Party, and then Progressive Party, but also with three major presidential candidates. With none of the three candidates getting anywhere near 50% of the popular vote. This was truly a mule-party presidential election.

1912 was also an election where Woodrow Wilson from the Democratic Party, was the centrist candidate. Even though he is basically the father of liberal internationalism and the foreign policy that was about liberal democracy and defending liberal democracy and fighting authoritarianism around the world. And had a progressive economic policy as far as regulating the economy and a belief in a public safety net. But President William H. Taft was a Conservative Republican and Theodore Roosevelt was a Progressive and in some cases ran as a Social Democrat in 1912 when he ran for President for the last time. So Americans voters had a real choice for President in 1912 and didn’t have to vote for the candidate they disliked the least, but instead had a real choice for President.

Back in the early 20th Century the Republican Party was a conservative party, but with a Progressive Republican wing in it. That Teddy Roosevelt was the leader of and when he didn’t win the 1912 presidential election and believed the nomination was stolen from his by President William Taft, he decided to create and build his own progressive party. He had the name and the ability to get the resources to do that and mange to run a credible third-party presidential campaign in 1912 because of these factors. And even though he lost to the eventual winner Democratic Woodrow Wilson, he beat the President of the United States Republican William Taft.
The Film Archives: Booknotes With Brian Lamb- James Chace: Election That Changed The Country- How 1912 Changed American History

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