With the November 2012 presidential elections lowering over us, we thought it would be interesting for our readers to take a look at another presidential election — one held almost exactly 100 years ago. The 1912 election pitted three major candidates against each other: the Republican, William Howard Taft; his immediate predecessor, President Theodore Roosevelt, who ran as a “third party” candidate on the Progressive (or Bull Moose) Party ticket; and the Democrat “progressive,” Woodrow Wilson. Though the candidates claimed to represent very different visions for America, really, there were not many profound differences between them. Even the “conservative” (as juxtaposed to Roosevelt and Wilson) candidate, President Taft, had spent his term enacting many of the same sorts of policies that the progressive President Roosevelt had put in place when in office.
The foregoing might lead one to conclude that not much has changed between 1912 and 2012. Yet, there are some striking differences — for instance, in how party conventions are conducted (the presidential candidate was not a foregone conclusion), the vibrancy of third parties (not just the Bull Moosers but the Socialists made a splash in 1912), and the three-dimensional personalities of the candidates. What’s more, these men could speak — no tired analogies, no chiding headed off by, “make no mistake…”, no hackneyed phraseology, such as “all options are on the table.” Moreover, it has been a long time since we have had such a character as Teddy Roosevelt. One may not agree with all of his policies, but who wouldn’t like to spend an afternoon over beer with the man — even if it led to a “bully” fight?
Please click here read the article. It is taken from our yet-to-be published high school history of North America, Lands of Hope and Promise.