100 Years Ago Today

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

Progressive Party Platform Adopted In New York

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.

Following the national convention of the Progressive Party in Chicago in August 1912 the delegates returned to their home states to create state-level Progressive Parties as adjuncts to the national Party. These state delegates often in turn held a state convention of the Party and adopted their own state version of the Party platform. The Progressive Party platform included:

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 in the elimination of special privilege in every form. We would wage an unceasing war against the use political and governmental power for the private gain of the bosses and their friends. We would end the arbitrary and useless use of of the money power to build up great individual fortunes through the establishment of monopoly. We propose the use of government power to protect property rights no less that heretofore but we also seek to preserve, promote and protect human welfare more.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.”

On September 5, 1912 the New York State Progressive Party adopted its platform during the state convention, which took place in Syracuse.

The New York State Progressive Party Platform – adopted September 5, 1912 :http://www.larrydewitt.net/SSinGAPE/nyprogressives.htm

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