A Study Of The American Election Of 1912

The Election That Forever Changed the United States. The reason why the election of 1912 was such a significant election year was because it showed how a third political party could impact America, and it mainly dealt with foreign policy. The four main men who helped to do this were Theodore Roosevelt, William H. Taft, T. Woodrow Wilson and Eugene V. Debs. Theodore Roosevelt was a man who was nominated for the third political party that changed American history. The political party that he was nominated for was the Progressive Party (also known as the Bull Moose Party), and that party had been created by the splitting of the Republican Party. The reason why the Progressive Party was created was because of William H. Taft, who ran for the Republican Party during the election of 1912. As a sense of betrayal because Roosevelt had helped Taft win the presidential election of 1910, Roosevelt left the Republican Party and was nominated for the Progressive Party, which was opposed to the Republican Party. T. Woodrow Wilson was nominated for the Democratic Party. Wilson had always hoped to run for president someday; that day was during 1912. Eugene V. Debs ran for the Socialist Party. He had been on the Socialist ballot for president twice before and his thought was “the third times a charm.” His firm beliefs were beloved by other Socialists, but his public speaking made him irreplaceable to industrial capitalism. The fifth presidential candidate that was also involved in the election of 1912 was Eugene W. Chafin for Prohibitionists. Finally, the sixth presidential candidate, Arthur E. Reimer, was nominated for the Socialist Labor Party. (1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10.)

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Theodore Roosevelt had always spoke about “social brotherhood” and “representative government,” so during the running of his campaign, he gave a flaring speech to the Old Guard at a stump he took at Osawatomie, Kansas, that he called “New Nationalism.” This became his party platform, and it urged the national government to augment its power to help heal the economy and social issues. Theodore Roosevelt had two other opponents for the Republican nomination; they were William Taft and Senator Robert LaFollette. In 1910, LaFollette made the National Republican League, which was made to restore government to the people through reforms. It would give more democratic procedures, but it would not only come from the government but from a political organization. Roosevelt had turned down the offer that LaFollette had proposed, but in January 21, 1910, LaFollette had created the National Progressive Republican League that caused some worry amongst both Roosevelt and Taft. (1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, and 10.)

During the primary elections, Robert LaFollette had won North Dakota and Wisconsin while William Taft had his control over New York. Theodore Roosevelt, however, had every other state during the primary elections and during the Republican Convention, Roosevelt had two-hundred seventy-one delegates on his side compared to Taft’s eighty delegates. Nevertheless, as President already, Taft had more influential power that he had used on the delegates that he did not get the first time. He took control of the delegates from the South and the Republican National Committee; with that, Taft won the Republican primary with five- hundred sixty-one delegates to Roosevelt’s one-hundred eighty-seven. Poor Robert LaFollette had only forty-one delegates on his side during this confusing convention. Shaken and full of anger because of his loss of the Republican nomination, Theodore Roosevelt led his followers and created the Progressive Party, also known as the Bull Moose Party. As his running mate, Theodore Roosevelt chose the Progressive governor from California, Hiram Johnson. The reason why the Progressive Party had gained its nickname was because it described how Theodore Roosevelt was a raging “bull moose” ready to fight and win the election. (1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, and 10.)

Before this actual election began, William Howard Taft who ran against Theodore Roosevelt for the Republican nomination. Running along with Taft was James S. Sherman and Nicholas M. Butler, both from New York. When Taft was running, he was the first President to actively run his own campaign rather than have some other people do so. William Howard Taft was already President at the time, but he sought a second term to outdo his rival and successor, Roosevelt. The party platform that Taft ran for was “dollar diplomacy.” “Dollar diplomacy” was a foreign policy that put money towards areas of premeditated trepidations to the United States. Such areas were Far East Asia and the regions that were concerned with the Panama Canal. With this foreign policy, American defenses and foreign policies were strengthened. Yet, this foreign policy failed because Russia and Japan were unwilling to go along with the idea; ridicule befell Taft. As the time was closing on to the election of 1912, Taft and Roosevelt grew apart from issues such as the antitrust suit that Taft ran against the U.S. Steel Corporation which Roosevelt had been involved with because he saw it as a “good trust;” the Payne-Aldrich Bill; and the firing of Gifford Pinchot. With those issues at hand, it led to a fight to the death against a student and his mentor for the Republican nomination. Taft eventually was victorious and won the Republican nomination. With Taft winning the nomination, the Progressive Party began, and it was led by his teacher, Roosevelt. (1, 2, 3, 4, 6, and 7.)

Because of how bewildering the Republican Convention was, Woodrow Wilson found it a convenient time for himself to run for the Democratic Party nomination. This was a once-in-a- lifetime opportunity for any Democrat. As a Progressive governor form New Jersey, Woodrow was nominated by the Democrats on their forty-third ballot at the Democratic Convention that was held in Baltimore; Thomas Marshall from Indiana was chosen as his running mate. Thomas Woodrow Wilson’s party platform was known as “New Freedom,” which favored a small enterprise, free enterprise, and the free functioning of unfettered and un-monopolized markets. Wilson ran his own campaign and for his last hope of campaigning to win the presidential vote, he stopped in New York City and told the crowd that the Democratic Party was to do what the Republican Party said they would do; with that, it resonated through the people and that helped Wilson become the second Democratic president of the United States and the first president that was born in the South since Zachary Taylor, which was sixty-four years earlier. Woodrow Wilson won less than forty two percent of the votes during this election and history was made. (1, 2, 3, 4, and 7.)

The fourth presidential candidate that ran for President was Eugene V. Debs, who ran for the Socialist Party. As his running mate, Debs chose Emil Seidel from Wisconsin. Debs had ran for the Socialist ballot twice before this election and lost both times; he was a modern-day Henry Clay of the twentieth century. Eugene V. Debs was known as the champion for fighting for social and economic justice, and that was what made him the favorite of Socialist voters. During the years of 1907 and 1912, Eugene V. Debs was an associate editor of a magazine called “Appeal to Reason,” which was published in Girard, Kansas. With this magazine, his writing spread like wild fire; it showed how powerful in writing he was and he was known as one of the most gifted orators of his time. Nevertheless, he was often too sick, but he still found a way to speak. All the same, he was known as a gifted speaker; it made him invaluable in the fight against industrial capitalism. Sad to say, Eugene V. Debs did not win the election, but he won almost one million votes; he won no electoral votes, which was worth six percent of those who voted. (1, 2, and 3.)

The fifth presidential candidate for this election year was Eugene W. Chafin, who ran for the Prohibitionist Party. As his running mate, he chose Aaron S. Watkins, who was from Ohio; this was his second attempt to run for presidency, and it was his last. What he wanted was to ban alcohol and to spur the temperance movement forward; as President, he thought he could do so. However, he could have if he had won; he didn’t win in this election. He did not receive any electoral votes from any state, and he only got one percent of the vote, which accounted for two-hundred and six thousand people. In his mind, he tried to save the United States from alcohol and its wickedness, but that was to never happen. (2 and 9.)

Finally, the sixth and last presidential candidate for this election year was Austin E. Reimer with his running mate August Gillhaus from New York. The party that they were affiliated with was the Socialist Labor Party, which stood for the communal ownership and control of the industries and social services. What the party attempted to do was change the United States from a capitalist country into a socialist country. By doing so, Austin E. Reimer ran for presidency in 1912 and unfortunately lost. He did not win any electoral votes and only gained zero-point-two percent of the vote, which accounted for twenty-eight thousand seven hundred fifty people. (2 and 8.)

This election was an important one because it helped to form the basis for other political parties to form such as the Progressive Party. Foreign policy was the main issue of this election nonetheless, and Roosevelt, Taft and Wilson knew that. Roosevelt used his “big stick” policy, his “Square Deal,” and his “New Nationalism” to empower the government and crush bad trusts; Taft used his “dollar diplomacy” to help strengthen America, even though it failed; Wilson helped to establish a better banking system, reduced tariffs, and created trusts that helped with commerce and benefitted unions. When Wilson became President in 1912, he revolutionized the United States into what it is today. (1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, and 10.)