Theodore Roosevelt: Running For The Progressive Party

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Most presidential elections are a competition between two respective parties, but in 1912, the election became a four candidate fight. The true competition existed primarily between two candidates, Theodore Roosevelt (TR), running for what was once legal-- a third term, for the newly formed Progressive party, and Woodrow Wilson, former governor of New Jersey, for the Democrats. The remaining candidates, Eugene V. Debs, running a the fourth time for the Socialist party, and Wilson Howard Taft, running for re-election with the Republican party, stood little chance against their competitors. Looking at the results and numbers only, one might like to think that the election was insignificant and a blowout win by Woodrow Wilson, but taking all the…show more content…
TR’s decision to run was somewhat of a surprise because he would be campaigning directly against the very man he had selected to succeed him, “He was fearful that the people would blame him for foisting William Howard Taft on them; but he was not the betrayer, rather he was, as he saw it, the betrayed” (Chace 383). Roosevelt could not stand by and watch all the hard work he had done as president slowly unravel, as Taft himself writes in a letter addressed to Roosevelt, “I do not know that I have had harder luck than other presidents but I do know that thus far I have succeeded far less than have others. I have been conscientiously trying to carry out your policies, but my method for doing so has not worked smoothly”. Unable to ignore what he considered a cry for help, TR campaigned to be the Republican candidate, but was unsuccessful despite popular support and defeating Taft in almost every state, including his home state(Gould) Determined to not accept defeat, a group of former Republicans unhappy with the outcome of the Republican convention in Chicago nominated Roosevelt for the recently assembled Progressive party. While campaigning in Milwaukee, TR was shot in the chest, but he refused to go to the hospital until he had fully delivered his…show more content…
would have won the presidency”(Click). Author of 1912: Wilson, Roosevelt Taft and Debs, James Chace, agrees, “Had the charismatic Roosevelt received the Republican nomination, he almost surely would have won”. Debs and the Socialist party barely stood a chance, but what was significant about his campaign was that he did win six percent of the popular vote, a record for the party. Taft’s chances of winning were also slim, because of TR’s vigorous campaigning and because TR was beloved by most. The division of the Republican parties gave the the Democrats power of the national government, a first time since before the Civil War

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