100 Years Ago Today

A History Of Events And Happenings From Exactly One Hundred Years Ago

The Progressive Party Announces Its Platform In Chicago

When Theodore Roosevelt left office in 1909 he selected William Howard Taft his Secretary of War to succeed him as President. Taft easily won the 1908 presidential election.  Taft alienated Roosevelt when he used the Sherman Anti-Trust Act to break up US Steel, a trust Roosevelt approved of as a “good” trust. On the other hand, Taft let American Tobacco Company structure its own dissolution, a move Roosevelt saw as too lenient. Taft represents the conservative wing of the Republican party and has said Roosevelt is “the greatest menace to our institutions that we have had in a long time.” Roosevelt advocated the recall of judicial decisions through popular vote whereas Taft had held up the recognition of Arizona as a state until popular recall was taken out of the state constitution. To Taft, Roosevelt and his attempt at a 3rd term as president Roosevelt has made him a dangerous radical “because of his hold upon the less intelligent voters and the discontented” with policies that bordered on Socialism. The two contested each other at the Republican National Convention in Chicago but Taft had the delegates all sewn up. Roosevelt saw this as a theft and started his own party.

Taft wins nomination, Roosevelt starts 3rd party :  https://100yearsagotoday.wordpress.com/2012/06/22/taft-wins-republican-nomination-roosevelt-announces-third-party/

But Roosevelt has a dilemma : Although his Progressive Party attracts some of the greatest reformers of the time like Jane Addams, a staunch suffragist and civil rights advocate, he cannot alienate his southern supporters by admitting African-America delegates to the Progressive National Convention gathering in Chicago from southern states. African-Americans have been staunch supporters of the Republican and Progressive parties and Roosevelt assured the press that there would be African-American delegates from the Northern states.

Yesterday the National Progressive Party, now nicknamed the “Bull Moose Party” opened it’s convention in Chicago, Illinois.

On August 6, 1912 Roosevelt released an 18,000 document delineating the positions of the Progressive Party. They include :

Public disclosure of campaign contribution.

Women granted universal suffrage and given the right to vote.

Social and industrial justice including a national minimum wage.

Insurance and old age pensions for employees.

Protection for women and children in the workplace.

Presidential primaries for delegates by popular vote.

Election of US Senators by popular vote.

“We Progressives believe that the people have the right, the power and the duty to protect themselves and their own welfare; that human rights are supreme over all other rights; that wealth should be the servant, not the master, of the people.

We believe that, unless representative government does absolutely represent the people, it is not representative government at all.

Here is Theodore Roosevelt’s entire statement – August 6, 1912 : http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=9900E2DB123CE633A25754C0A96E9C946396D6CF

Theodore Roosevelt at Progressive Party national convention
Chicago, Illinois
August 6, 1912

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