1912 Progressive National Convention

Angered at the renomination of President William Howard Taft over their candidate at the 1912 Republican National Convention, supporters of former president Theodore Roosevelt convened in Chicago and endorsed the formation of a national progressive party. When formally launched later that summer, the new Progressive Party acclaimed Roosevelt as its presidential nominee and Governor Hiram Johnson of California as his running mate. Questioned by reporters, Roosevelt said he felt as strong as a "bull moose". Henceforth known as the " Bull Moose Party", the Progressives promised to increase federal regulation and protect the welfare of ordinary people.

The party was funded by publisher Frank Munsey and its executive secretary George Walbridge Perkins, an employee of banker J. P. Morgan and International Harvester. Perkins blocked an anti-trust plank, shocking reformers who thought of Roosevelt as a true trust-buster. The delegates to the convention sang the hymn "Onward, Christian Soldiers" as their anthem. In a famous acceptance speech, Roosevelt compared the coming presidential campaign to the Battle of Armageddon and stated that the Progressives were going to "battle for the Lord."

The August convention opened with great enthusiasm. Over 2,000 delegates attended, including many women. In 1912, neither the Republican candidate, President Taft, nor the Democratic nominee Woodrow Wilson, had endorsed women's suffrage on the national level[1] and the famed suffragette and social worker Jane Addams gave a seconding speech for Roosevelt's nomination.

Although Roosevelt insisted on excluding African-American Republicans from the South (whom he regarded as a corrupt and ineffective element), he did include black delegates from all other parts of the country,[2] and he further alienated white southern supporters on the eve of the election by publicly dining with black people at a Rhode Island hotel.[3] Roosevelt said at the end of his speech " We stand at Armageddon, and we battle for the Lord.”[4]

1912 Progressive National Convention
1912 presidential election
Roosevelt and Johnson
Date(s)August 5
CityChicago, Illinois
VenueChicago Coliseum
Presidential nomineeTheodore Roosevelt of New York
Vice Presidential nomineeHiram Johnson of California
Other candidatesnone
Total delegates2000+
Votes needed for nomination?
Results (President)Theodore Roosevelt (NY): 2000+ (100%)
Aa addams work 2 e
Progressive convention, 1912
Roosevelt speaking in convention hall, Chicago (cropped1)
Roosevelt delivering a speech at the convention

Candidates gallery

The Platform

The main work of the convention was the platform, which set forth the new party's appeal to the voters. It was drafted in part by Charles McCarthy,[5] and included a broad range of social and political reforms advocated by progressives.[2][6]

16-page campaign booklet with party platform of the Progressive Party

The platform's main theme was reversing the domination of politics by business interests, which allegedly controlled the Republicans' and Democrats' parties alike. The platform asserted that the first task of the statesmanship of the day was to destroy the invisible Government, and to dissolve the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics.[7]

To that end, the platform called for

  • strict limits and disclosure requirements on political campaign contributions,
  • registration of lobbyists, and
  • recording and publication of congressional committee proceedings.

In the social sphere the platform called for

The political reforms proposed included

The platform also urged states to adopt measures for "direct democracy", including

  • the recall election (citizens may remove an elected official before the end of his term),
  • the referendum (citizens may decide on a law by popular vote),
  • the initiative (citizens may propose a law by petition and enact it by popular vote), and
  • judicial recall (when a court declares a law unconstitutional the citizens may override that ruling by popular vote).

Besides these measures, the platform called for reductions in the tariff, limitations on naval armaments by international agreement and improvements to inland waterways.

The biggest controversy at the convention was over the platform section dealing with trusts and monopolies such as Standard Oil. The convention approved a strong "trust-busting" plank, but Roosevelt had it replaced with language that spoke only of "strong National regulation" and "permanent active [Federal] supervision" of major corporations. This retreat shocked reformers like Pinchot, who blamed it on Perkins (a director of U.S. Steel). The result was a deep split in the new party that was never resolved.[2]

In general, the platform expressed Roosevelt's "New Nationalism": a strong government to regulate industry, protect the middle and working classes, and carry on great national projects. This New Nationalism was paternalistic in direct contrast to Wilson's individualistic philosophy of "New Freedom". Roosevelt also favored a vigorous foreign policy, including strong military power. Though the platform called for limiting naval armaments, it also recommended the construction of two new battleships per year, much to the distress of outright pacifists such as Jane Addams.


  1. ^ "Bull Moose years of Theodore Roosevelt by Theodore Roosevelt Association". Theodoreroosevelt.org. Retrieved 2012-01-06.
  2. ^ a b c CQG, 1985, pp. 77–78
  3. ^ Baum, B.; Harris, D. (2009). Racially Writing the Republic: Racists, Race Rebels, and Transformations of American Identity. Durham: Duke University Press. p. 188. ISBN 9780822344353.
  4. ^ "TR Center - First National Convention of the Progressive Party". www.theodorerooseveltcenter.org. Retrieved 2018-05-01.
  5. ^ "McCarthy of the 'Wisconsin Idea'". The Milwaukee Journal. Milwaukee, Wisconsin. August 4, 1948. Retrieved 10 April 2010.
  6. ^ "American President: Theodore Roosevelt: Campaigns and Elections". Millercenter.org. 2012-08-22. Archived from the original on 2012-10-06. Retrieved 2012-10-09.
  7. ^ Patricia O'Toole (2006-06-25). "O'TOOLE, PATRICIA, "The War of 1912," ''Time'' in partnership with CNN, Jun. 25, 2006". Time.com. Retrieved 2012-01-06.
Preceded by
Progressive National Conventions Succeeded by
Chicago, Illinois
Chicago Coliseum

The Chicago Coliseums were three large indoor arenas in Chicago, Illinois, which stood successively from the 1860s to 1982; they served as venues for sports events, large (national-class) conventions and as exhibition halls. The first Coliseum stood at State and Washington streets in Chicago's downtown in the late 1860s. The second, at 63rd Street near Stony Island Avenue in the south side's Woodlawn community, hosted the 1896 Democratic National Convention. The third Chicago Coliseum was located at 15th Street and Wabash Avenue on the near south side; it hosted five consecutive Republican National Conventions, (1904, 1908, 1912, 1916, 1920) and the Progressive Party National Convention in 1912 and 1916. In the 1960s and early 1970s it served as a general admission venue for rock concerts, roller derbys and professional wrestling matches; it closed in 1971 and was sold for redevelopment in 1982, however portions of the building remained standing until the early 1990s.

Electoral history of Theodore Roosevelt

Electoral history of Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States (1901–1909), 25th Vice President of the United States (1901) and 33rd Governor of New York (1899–1900)

New York gubernatorial race, 1898

New York gubernatorial election, 1898

Theodore Roosevelt/Timothy L. Woodruff (R) - 661,715 (49.09%)

Augustus Van Wyck/Elliott Danforth (D) - 643,921 (47.77%)

Benjamin Hanford (Socialist) - 23,860 (1.77%)

John Kline (Prohibition) - 18,383 (1.36%)Vice Presidential race, 1900

1900 Republican National Convention (Vice Presidential tally):

Theodore Roosevelt - 925 (99.89%)

Abstaining - 1 (0.11%)United States presidential election, 1900:

William McKinley/Theodore Roosevelt (R) - 7,228,864 (51.6%) and 292 electoral votes (65.32%, 28 states carried)

William Jennings Bryan/Adlai E. Stevenson I (D) - 6,370,932 (45.5%) and 155 electoral votes (34.68%, 17 states carried)

John Granville Woolley/Henry Brewer Metcalf (Prohibition) - 210,864 (1.5%)

Eugene V. Debs/Job Harriman (Socialist) - 87,945 (0.6%)

Wharton Barker/Ignatius L. Donnelly (Populist) - 50,989 (0.4%)

Joseph Francis Maloney/Valentine Remmel (Socialist Labor) - 40,943 (0.3%)

Others - 6,889 (0.0%)

John Hyde Sweet

John Hyde Sweet (September 1, 1880 – April 4, 1964) was an American Republican Party politician.

He was born in Milford, New York on September 1, 1880, and moved to Palmyra, Nebraska in 1885. He attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Lincoln Business College in Lincoln, Nebraska.

After graduating, he worked as court reporter in western Nebraska from 1899 to 1900, and then as a grocer in Nebraska City from 1902 to 1909. After that he served as manager and then editor of the Nebraska City News newspaper and was a Nebraskan delegate to the 1912 Progressive National Convention.

In 1940 was elected as a Republican to the Seventy-sixth United States Congress to fill the vacancy left by the previous representative George H. Heinke, who had died in a car crash in the January of that year. Sweet served for less than a year, and did not run in the following election.

He died April 4, 1964, in Wickenburg, Arizona and was buried at Wyuka Cemetery, Nebraska City, Nebraska.

Progressive Party (United States, 1912)

The Progressive Party was a third party in the United States formed in 1912 by former President Theodore Roosevelt after he lost the presidential nomination of the Republican Party to his former protégé, incumbent President William Howard Taft. The new party was known for taking advanced positions on progressive reforms and attracting some leading reformers. After the party's defeat in the 1912 presidential election, it went into rapid decline, disappearing by 1918. The Progressive Party was popularly nicknamed the "Bull Moose Party" since Roosevelt often said that he felt "strong as a bull moose" both before and after an assassination attempt on the campaign trail.As a member of the Republican Party, Roosevelt had served as President from 1901 to 1909, becoming increasingly progressive in the later years of his presidency. In the 1908 presidential election, Roosevelt helped ensure that he would be succeeded by Secretary of War Taft. Although Taft entered office determined to advance Roosevelt's Square Deal domestic agenda, he stumbled badly during the Payne–Aldrich Tariff Act debate and the Pinchot–Ballinger controversy. The political fallout of these events divided the Republican Party and alienated Roosevelt from his former friend. Progressive Republican leader Robert La Follette had already announced a challenge to Taft for the 1912 Republican nomination, but many of his supporters shifted to Roosevelt after the former President decided to seek a third presidential term, which was permissible under the Constitution prior to the ratification of the Twenty-second Amendment. At the 1912 Republican National Convention, Taft narrowly defeated Roosevelt for the party's presidential nomination. After the convention, Roosevelt, Frank Munsey, George Walbridge Perkins and other progressive Republicans established the Progressive Party and nominated a ticket of Roosevelt and Hiram Johnson of California at the 1912 Progressive National Convention. The new party attracted several Republican officeholders, although nearly all of them remained loyal to the Republican Party—in California, Johnson and the Progressives took control of the Republican Party.

The party's platform built on Roosevelt's Square Deal domestic program and called for several progressive reforms. The platform asserted that "to dissolve the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship of the day". Proposals on the platform included restrictions on campaign finance contributions, a reduction of the tariff and the establishment of a social insurance system, an eight-hour workday and women's suffrage. The party was split on the regulation of large corporations, with some party members disappointed that the platform did not contain a stronger call for "trust-busting". Party members also had different outlooks on foreign policy, with pacifists like Jane Addams opposing Roosevelt's call for a naval build-up.

In the 1912 election, Roosevelt won 27.4% of the popular vote compared to Taft's 23.2%, making Roosevelt the only third party presidential nominee to finish with a higher share of the popular vote than a major party's presidential nominee. Both Taft and Roosevelt finished behind Democratic nominee Woodrow Wilson, who won 41.8% of the popular vote and the vast majority of the electoral vote. The Progressives elected several Congressional and state legislative candidates, but the election was marked primarily by Democratic gains. The 1916 Progressive National Convention was held in conjunction with the 1916 Republican National Convention in hopes of reunifying the parties with Roosevelt as the presidential nominee of both parties. The Progressive Party collapsed after Roosevelt refused the Progressive nomination and insisted his supporters vote for Charles Evans Hughes, the moderately progressive Republican nominee. Most Progressives joined the Republican Party, but some converted to the Democratic Party and Progressives like Harold L. Ickes would play a role in President Franklin D. Roosevelt's administration. In 1924, La Follette set up another Progressive Party for his presidential run. A third Progressive Party was set up in 1948 for the presidential campaign of former Vice President Henry A. Wallace.

Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt Jr. ( ROH-zə-velt; October 27, 1858 – January 6, 1919) was an American statesman, conservationist and writer who served as the 26th president of the United States from 1901 to 1909. He previously served as the 25th vice president of the United States from March to September 1901 and as the 33rd governor of New York from 1899 to 1900. As a leader of the Republican Party during this time, he became a driving force for the Progressive Era in the United States in the early 20th century. His face is depicted on Mount Rushmore, alongside those of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln. In polls of historians and political scientists, Roosevelt is generally ranked as one of the five best presidents.Roosevelt was born a sickly child with debilitating asthma, but he overcame his physical health problems by embracing a strenuous lifestyle. He integrated his exuberant personality, vast range of interests, and world-famous achievements into a "cowboy" persona defined by robust masculinity. Home-schooled, he began a lifelong naturalist avocation before attending Harvard College. His book, The Naval War of 1812 (1882), established his reputation as both a learned historian and as a popular writer. Upon entering politics, he became the leader of the reform faction of Republicans in New York's state legislature. Following the near-simultaneous deaths of his wife and mother, he escaped to a cattle ranch in the Dakotas. Roosevelt served as Assistant Secretary of the Navy under President William McKinley, but resigned from that post to lead the Rough Riders during the Spanish–American War. Returning a war hero, he was elected Governor of New York in 1898. After the death of Vice President Garret Hobart, the New York state party leadership convinced McKinley to accept Roosevelt as his running mate in the 1900 election. Roosevelt campaigned vigorously, and the McKinley-Roosevelt ticket won a landslide victory based on a platform of peace, prosperity, and conservation.

After taking office as Vice President in March 1901, he became President at age 42 following McKinley's assassination that September, and remains the youngest person to become President of the United States. As a leader of the Progressive movement, he championed his "Square Deal" domestic policies, promising the average citizen fairness, breaking of trusts, regulation of railroads, and pure food and drugs. Making conservation a top priority, he established many new national parks, forests, and monuments intended to preserve the nation's natural resources. In foreign policy, he focused on Central America, where he began construction of the Panama Canal. He expanded the Navy and sent the Great White Fleet on a world tour to project the United States' naval power around the globe. His successful efforts to broker the end of the Russo-Japanese War won him the 1906 Nobel Peace Prize. He avoided controversial tariff and money issues. Elected in 1904 to a full term, Roosevelt continued to promote progressive policies, many of which were passed in Congress. Roosevelt successfully groomed his close friend, William Howard Taft, and Taft won the 1908 presidential election to succeed him.

Frustrated with Taft's conservatism, Roosevelt belatedly tried to win the 1912 Republican nomination. He failed, walked out and founded a third party, the Progressive, so-called "Bull Moose" Party, which called for wide-ranging progressive reforms. He ran in the 1912 election and the split allowed the Democratic nominee Woodrow Wilson to win the election. Following his defeat, Roosevelt led a two-year expedition to the Amazon basin, where he nearly died of tropical disease. During World War I, he criticized President Wilson for keeping the country out of the war with Germany, and his offer to lead volunteers to France was rejected. Though he had considered running for president again in 1920, Roosevelt's health continued to deteriorate, and he died in 1919.

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