Letter Accepting the Republican Nomination

Image: William Howard Taft. c. 1908. Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/89709911/.
Election of 1912

SOURCE:  Official Report of the Proceedings of the Fifteenth Republican National Convention. Reported by Milton W. Blumenberg , Official Reporter.  New York: The Tenny Press, 1912, 414-433, available online at the Hathi Trust Digital Library:  https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=umn.31951002482591y&view=1up&seq=462&skin=2021

Mr. Root[1] and Chairmen of the Notification Committee:

I accept the nomination which you tender. I do so with profound gratitude to the Republican Party, which has thus honored me twice. I accept it as an approval of what I have done under its mandate, and as an expression of confidence that in a second administration I will serve the public well. The issue presented to the Convention, over which your Chairman presided with such a just and even hand, made a crisis in the party’s life. A faction sought to force the party to violate a valuable and time-honored national tradition by entrusting the power of the Presidency for more than two terms to one man, and that man, one whose recently avowed political views would have committed the party to radical proposals involving dangerous changes in our present constitutional form of representative government and our independent judiciary.[2]

This occasion is appropriate for the expression of profound gratitude at the victory for the right which was won at Chicago. By that victory, the Republican Party was saved for future usefulness. It has been the party through which substantially all the progress and development in our country’s history in the last fifty years has been finally effected. It carried the country through the war which saved the Union, and through the greenback and silver crazes to a sound gold basis, which saved the country’s honor and credit. It fought the Spanish war and successfully solved the new problems of our island possessions. It met the incidental evils of the enormous trade expansion and extended combinations of capital from 1897 until now by a successful crusade against the attempt of concentrated wealth to control the country’s politics and its trade. It enacted regulatory legislation to make the railroads the servants and not the masters of the people. It has enforced the anti-trust laws until those who were not content with anything but monopolistic control of various branches of industry are now acquiescent in any plan which shall give them scope for legitimate expansion and assure them immunity from reckless prosecution.

The Republican Party has been alive to the modern change in the view of the duty of government toward the people. Time was when the least government was thought the best, and the policy which left all to the individual, unmolested and unaided by government, was deemed the wisest. Now the duty of government by positive law to further equality of opportunity in respect of the weaker classes in their dealings with the stronger and more powerful is clearly recognized. It is in this direction that real progress toward the greater human happiness is being made. It has been suggested that under our Constitution, such tendency to so-called paternalism was impossible. Nothing is further from the fact. The power of the Federal Government to tax and expend for the general welfare has long been exercised, and the admiration one feels for our Constitution is increased when we perceive how readily that instrument lends itself to wider governmental functions in the promotion of the comfort of the people.

The list of legislative enactments for the uplifting of those of our people suffering a disadvantage in their social and economic relation enacted by the Republican Party in this and previous administrations is a long one, and shows the party sensitive to the needs of the people under the new view of governmental responsibility.

Thus there was the pure-food law and the meat-inspection law to hold those who dealt with the food of millions to a strict accountability for its healthful condition.

The frightful loss of life and limb to railway employees in times past has now been greatly reduced by statutes requiring safety appliances and proper inspection, of which two important ones were passed in this administration.

The dreadful mining disasters in which thousands of miners met their death have led to a Federal mining bureau and generous appropriations to further discovery of methods of reducing explosions and other dangers in mining.

The statistics as to infant mortality and as to the too early employment of children in factories have prompted the creation of a children’s bureau, by which the whole public can be made aware of actual conditions in the States and the best methods of reforming them for the saving and betterment of the coming generation.

The passage of time has brought the burdens and helplessness of old age to many of those veterans of the Civil War who exposed their lives in the supreme struggle to save the Nation, and, recognizing this, Congress has added to previous provision which patriotic gratitude had prompted, a substantial allowance, which may be properly characterized as an old men’s pension.

By the white-slave[3] act we have sought to save unfortunates from their own degradation, and have forbidden the use of interstate commerce in promoting vice.

In the making of the contract of employment between a railway employee and the company, the two do not stand on an equality, and the terms of the contract which the common law implied were unfair to the employee.[4] Congress, in the exercise of its control over interstate commerce, has re-formed the contract to be implied and has made it more favorable to the employee. Indeed, a more radical bill, which I fully approve, has passed the Senate and is now pending in the House which requires interstate railways in effect to insure the lives of their employees and to make provision for prompt settlement of the amount due under the law after death or injury has occurred.

By the railroad legislation of this administration, shippers have been placed much nearer an equality with the railroads whose lines they use, than ever before. Rates cannot be increased except after the Interstate Commerce Commission shall hold the increase reasonable. Orders against railways which under previous acts might be stayed by judicial injunction that involved a delay of two years can now be examined and finally passed on by the Commerce Court in about six months. Patrons of express, telegraph, and telephone companies may now secure reasonable rates by complaint to the commission.

Many millions are spent annually by the Agricultural Department to investigate the best methods of treating the soil and carrying on agriculture and to publish the results. We are now looking into the question of the best system for securing such credit for the farmer at reasonable rates as will enable him better to equip his farm and to follow the rules of good farming, which we must encourage. . . .

Congress has sought to encourage the movement toward eight hours a day for all manual labor by the recent enactment of a new law on the subject more stringent in its provisions, regarding works on government contracts. . . .

We are considering the changing needs of the people in the disposition of our public lands and their conservation. As those lands owned by the government and useful for agricultural purposes which remain are as a whole less desirable as homesteads than those which have been already settled, it has been properly thought wise to reduce the time for perfecting a homestead claim from five years to three, and this whether on land within the rain area or in those arid tracts within the reclamation districts.

Again, a bill has passed the Senate and is likely to pass the House which will not compel the settlers on reclamation lands to wait ten years and until full payment of what they owe the government before they receive a title, but which gives a title after three years with a first government lien.

On the other hand, the withdrawal of coal lands, phosphate lands, and oil lands and water-power sites is still maintained until Congress shall provide, on the principles of proper conservation, a system of disposition which will attract capital on the one hand and retain sufficient control by the government on the other to prevent the evil of concentrating absolute ownership in a few persons of those sources for the production of necessities.

Popular Unrest

In the work of rousing the people to the danger that threatened our civilization from the abuses of concentrated wealth and the power it was likely to exercise, the public imagination was wrought upon and a reign of sensational journalism and unjust and unprincipled muckraking has followed, in which much injustice has been done to honest men. Demagogues have seized the opportunity further to inflame the public mind and have sought to turn the peculiar conditions to their advantage. . . .

In the ultimate analysis, I fear, the equal opportunity which is sought by many of those who proclaim the coming of so-called social justice involves a forced division of property, and that means socialism. In the abuses of the last two decades it is true that ill-gotten wealth has been concentrated in some undeserving hands, and if it were possible to redistribute it on any equitable principle to those from whom it was taken without adequate or proper compensation, it would be a good result to bring about. But this is obviously impossible and impracticable. All that can be done is to treat this as one incidental evil of a great expansive movement in the material progress of the world and to make sure that there will be no recurrence of such evil. In this regard we have made great progress and reform, as in respect to secret rebates in railways, the improper conferring of public franchises, and the immunity of monopolizing trusts and combinations.[5] The misfortunes of ordinary business, the division of the estates of wealthy men at their death, the chances of speculation which undue good fortune seems often to stimulate, operating as causes through a generation, will do much to divide up such large fortunes. It is far better to await the diminution of this evil by natural causes than to attempt what would soon take on the aspect of confiscation or to abolish the principle and institution of private property and to change to socialism. Socialism involves the taking away of the motive for acquisition, saving, energy, and enterprise, and a futile attempt by committees to apportion the rewards due for productive labor. It means stagnation and retrogression. It destroys the mainspring of human action that has carried the world on and upward for 2,000 years.

I do not say that the two gentlemen who now lead, one the Democratic Party and the other the former Republicans who have left their party, in their attacks upon existing conditions, and in their attempt to satisfy the popular unrest by promises of remedies, are consciously embracing socialism.[6] The truth is that they do not offer any definite legislation or policy by which the happy conditions they promise are to be brought about, but if their promises mean anything, they lead directly toward the appropriation of what belongs to one man, to another. The truth is, my friends, both those who have left the Republican Party under the inspiration of their present leader, and our old opponents, the Democrats, under their candidate, are going in a direction they do not definitely know, toward an end they cannot definitely describe, with but one chief and clear object, and that is of acquiring power for their party by popular support through the promise of a change for the better. What they clamor for is a change. They ask for a change in government so that the government may be restored to the people, as if this had not been a people’s government since the beginning of the Constitution. . . .

But after we have changed all the governmental machinery so as to permit instantaneous expression of the people in constitutional amendments, in statutes, and in recall of public agents, what then? . . .

Instead of giving us the benefit of any specific remedies for the hardships and evils of society they point out, they follow their urgent appeals for closer association of the people in legislation by an attempt to cultivate the hostility of the people to the courts and to represent that they are in some form upholding injustice and are obstructing the popular will. Attempts are made to take away all those safeguards for maintaining the independence of the judiciary which are so carefully framed in our Constitution. These attempts find expression in the policy, on the one hand, of the recall of judges, a system under which a judge whose decision in one case may temporarily displease the electorate is to be deprived at once of his office by a popular vote, a pernicious system embodied in the Arizona constitution and which the Democrats of the House and Senate refused to condemn as the initial policy of a new State. . . . Another form of hostility to the judiciary is shown in the grotesque proposition by the leader of the former Republicans who have left their party,[7] for a recall of decisions, so that a decision on a point of constitutional law, having been rendered by the highest court capable of rendering it, shall then be submitted to popular vote to determine whether it ought to be sustained. . . .

The Republican Party stands for none of these innovations. It refuses to make changes simply for the purpose of making a change, and cultivating popular hope that in the change something beneficial, undefined, will take place. It does not believe that human nature has changed. It still believes it is possible in this world that the fruits of energy, courage, enterprise, attention to duty, hard work, thrift, providence, restraint of appetite and of passions will continue to have their reward under our present system, and that laziness, lack of attention, lack of industry, the yielding to appetite and passion, carelessness, dishonesty, and disloyalty will ultimately find their own punishment in the world here. We do not deny that there are exceptions, and that seeming fortune follows wickedness and misfortune virtue, but, on the whole, we are optimists and believe that the rule is the other way. We do not know any way to avoid human injustice but to perfect our laws for administering justice, to develop the morality of the individual, to give direct supervision and aid to those who are, or are likely to be, oppressed, and to give as full scope as possible to individual effort and its rewards. Wherever we can see that a statute which does not deprive any person or class of what is his is going to help many people, we are in favor of it. We favor the greatest good to the greatest number, but we do not believe that this can be accomplished by minimizing the rewards of individual effort, or by infringing or destroying the right of property, which, next to the right of liberty, has been and is the greatest civilizing institution in history. In other words, the Republican Party believes in progress along the lines upon which we have attained progress already. We do not believe that we can reach a millennium by a sudden change in all our existing institutions. We believe that we have made progress from the beginning until now, and that the progress is to continue into the far future: that it is reasonable progress that experience has shown to be really useful and helpful, and from which there is no reaction to something worse.

The Republican Party stands for the Constitution as it is, with such amendments adopted according to its provisions as new conditions thoroughly understood may require. We believe that it has stood the test of time, and that there have been disclosed really no serious defects in its operation.

It is said this is not an issue in the campaign. It seems to me it is the supreme issue. The Democratic Party and the former Republicans who have left their party are neither of them to be trusted on this subject, as I have shown. The Republican Party is the nucleus of that public opinion which favors constant progress and development along safe and sane lines and under the Constitution as we have had it for more than one hundred years, and which believes in the maintenance of an independent judiciary as the keystone of our liberties and the balance wheel by which the whole governmental machinery is kept within the original plan. . . .

Panama Canal

For the benefit of our own people and of the world, we have carried on the work of the Panama Canal so that we can now look forward with confidence to its completion within eighteen months. The work has been a remarkable one, and has involved the expenditure of $30,000,000 to $40,000,000 annually for a series of years, and yet it has been attended with no scandal, and with a development of such engineering and medical skill and ingenuity as to command the admiration of the world and to bring the highest credit to our Corps of Army Engineers and our Army Medical Corps.

Foreign Relations

In our foreign relations we have maintained peace everywhere and sought to promote its continuance and permanence.

We have renewed the Japanese treaty for twelve more years and have avoided certain difficulties that were supposed to be insuperable as between the two countries by an arrangement which satisfies both.

We negotiated certain broad treaties for the promotion of universal arbitration which, if they had been ratified, would have greatly contributed toward perfecting machinery for securing general peace. These the Democratic minority of the Senate not being willing to concur in, withheld the necessary two-thirds vote, and amended the treaties in such a way as to make it doubtful whether they are worth preserving.

In China we have exercised a beneficial influence as one of the powers interested in aiding that great country in its forward movement and in its efforts to establish and maintain popular government. In order that our influence might be useful, we have acted with the other great powers, and we have exercised our influence effectively toward the strengthening of the popular movement and giving the Republic governmental stability. We have lent our good offices in the negotiation of a loan essential to the continuance of the Republic and which we hope that China will accept under such conditions of supervision as are adequate to the security of the lenders and at the same time will be of great assistance to those in whose behalf the loan is made, the people of China.

Our Mexican neighbor on the south has been disturbed by two revolutions, and these have necessarily brought a strain upon our relations because of the losses sustained by American citizens, both in property and in life, due to the lawlessness which could not be prevented under conditions of civil war. The pressure for intervention at times has been great, and grounds upon which, it is said, we might have intervened have been urged upon us, but this administration has been conscious that one hostile step in intervention and the passing of the border by one regiment of troops would mean war with Mexico, the expenditure of hundreds of millions of dollars, the loss of thousands of lives in the tranquillization of that country, with all the subsequent problems that would arise as to its disposition after we found ourselves in complete armed possession. . . .

I am hopeful that the present government is now rapidly subduing the insurrection and that we may look for tranquility near at hand. The demonstration of force which I felt compelled to make in the early part of the disturbance, by the mobilization of some 15,000 or 20,000 troops in Texas, and holding maneuvers there, had a good and direct effect and, as our ambassador and consuls report, secured much increased respect for American and other foreign property in the disturbances that followed. Similar questions have arisen in Cuba, but we have been able to avoid intervention, and to aid and encourage that young Republic by suggestion and advice.

I am glad to believe that we have had more peace in the Central American Republics because of our attention to their needs and our activity in mediating between them than ever before in the history of those Republics.

The Navy

The dignity and effectiveness of the government of the United States, together with its responsibility for the protection of Hawaii, Porto Rico, Alaska, Panama, and the Philippines, as well as for the maintenance of the Monroe doctrine, require the maintenance of an Army and Navy. We cannot properly reduce either below its present effective size. The plan for the maintenance of the Navy in proportion to the growth of other navies of the world calls for the construction of two new battleships each year. The Republican Party has felt the responsibility and voted the ships. The Democratic Party, in House caucus, repudiates any obligation to meet this national need.

The Philippines

The Philippines have had popular government and much prosperity during this administration in view of the free trade which they have enjoyed under the Payne bill.[8] The continuance of the same policy with respect to the Philippines will make the prosperity of those islands greater and greater and will gradually fit their people for self-government, and nothing will prevent such results except the ill-advised policy proposed by the Democratic Party of holding before the Philippine people independence as a prospect of the immediate future. . . .

Protective Tariff

The platform of 1908 promised, on behalf of the Republican Party, to do certain things. One was that the tariff would be revised at an extra session. An extra session was called and the tariff was revised. The platform did not say in specific words that the revision would be generally downward, but I construed it to mean that. During the pendency of the bill and after it was passed, it was subjected to the most vicious misrepresentation. It was said to be a bill to increase the tariff rather than to reduce it. The law has been in force now since August, 1909, a period of about 35 months. We are able to judge from its operation how far the statement is true that it did reduce duties.

It has vindicated itself. Under its operation, prosperity has been gradually restored since the panic of 1907. There have been no disastrous failures and no disastrous strikes. . . .

Under the provisions of the Payne bill I was able to appoint a Tariff Board to make investigations into each schedule with a view to determining the cost of production here and the cost of production abroad of the articles named in the schedule, in order to enable Congress in adjusting this schedule to know what rate of duty was necessary to prevent a destructive competition from European countries and the closing up of our mills and other sources of production. We are living on an economic basis established on principles of protection. A large part of our products are dependent for existence upon a rate of duty sufficient to save the producer from foreign competition which would make the continuance of his business impossible. . . .

The Result of Democratic Success

If the result of the election were to put the Democrats completely in control of all branches of the Government, then we should look for the reduction of duties upon all those articles the manufacture of which need protection, and may anticipate a serious injury to a large part of our manufacturing industry. . . . The Democratic platform declares protection to be unconstitutional, although it has been the motive and purpose of most tariff bills since 1879, and thus indicates as clearly as possible the intention to depart from a protective policy at once. . . . It ought to be brought home to the people as clearly as possible that a change of economic policy, such as that which is deliberately proposed in the Democratic platform, would halt many of our manufacturing enterprises and throw many wage earners out of employment, would injure much the home markets which the farmers now enjoy for their products, and produce a condition of suffering among the people that no reforming legislation could neutralize or mitigate. . . .

Effect of Excessive Tariff Rates

There is one respect in which high tariff rates may make for exorbitant prices. If the rate is higher than the difference between the cost of production here and abroad, then it tempts the manufacturers of this country to secure monopoly of the industry and to increase prices as far as the excessive tariff will permit. The danger may be avoided in two ways: First, by carefully adjusting the tariff on articles needing protection so that the manufacturer secures only enough protection to pay the scale of high wages which obtains and ought to obtain in this country and secure a reasonable profit from the business. This may be done by the continuance of the Tariff Board’s investigation into the facts, which will enable Congress and the people to know what the tariff as to each schedule ought to be. The American public may rest assured that should the Republican Party be restored to power in all legislative branches, all the schedules in the present tariff of which complaint is made will be subjected to investigation and report without delay which may be necessary to square the rates with the facts.

The other method of avoiding danger of excessive prices from excessive duties is to enforce the antitrust laws against those who combine to take advantage of the excessive tariff rates. This brings me to the discussion of the Sherman Act.

Anti-Trust Law

The antitrust law was passed to provide against the organization and maintenance of combinations for the manufacture and sale of commodities, which through restraint of trade, either by contract and agreement or by various methods of unfair competition, should suppress competition, establish monopoly, and control prices. The measure has been on the statute book since 1890, and many times under construction by the courts, but not until the litigation against the Standard Oil Company and against the American Tobacco Company reached the Supreme Court did the statute receive an authoritative construction which is workable and intelligible.

New Constructive Legislation

It would aid the business public if specific acts of unfair trade which characterize the establishment of unlawful monopolies should be denounced as misdemeanors for the purpose, first, of making plainer to the public what must be avoided, and, second, for the purpose of punishing such acts by summary procedure without the necessity for the formidable array of witnesses and the lengthy trials essential to establish a general conspiracy under the present act. But there is great need for other constructive legislation of a helpful kind. Combination of capital in great enterprises should be encouraged, if within the law, for everyone must recognize that progress in modern business is by effective combination of the means of production to the point of greatest economy. It should be our purpose, therefore, to put large interstate business enterprises acting within the law on a basis of security by offering them a Federal corporation law under which they may voluntarily incorporate. Such an act is not an easy one to draw in detail, but its general outlines are clearly defined by the two objects of such a law. One is to secure for the public, through competent Government agency, such a close supervision and regulation of the business transactions of the corporation as to preclude a violation of the antitrust and other laws to which the business of the corporation must square, and the other is to furnish to business, thus incorporated and lawfully conducted, the protection and security which it must enjoy under such a Federal charter. With the faculties conferred by such a charter, corporations could do business in all the States without complying with conflicting exactions of State legislatures, and could be sure of uniform taxation, i.e., uniform with that imposed by the State on State corporations in the same business.

Opposed to Drastic Amendments

I am not in sympathy with the purpose to make the antitrust law more drastic by such a provision as is proposed by the Democratic majority of the investigating committee of the House, for imposing a rule as to burden of proof upon defendants under antitrust prosecutions different from that which defendants in other prosecutions enjoy. This cannot be suggested by any difficulty found in proving to the courts the illegality of such combinations when the illegality exists. I challenge the production of a single record in any case in which an objectionable combination has escaped a decree against it because of any favorable rule as to the burden of proof. It is true that many defendants in criminal cases have escaped by a failure of the jury to convict, but that arises from the reluctance and refusal of jurors to find verdicts upon which men are likely to be sent to the penitentiary for pursuing a course of business competition which the ordinary man did not regard as immoral or criminal before the passage of the act.

Consistent Course in Prosecution of the Law

I think I may affirm without contradiction that the prosecution of all persons reported to the Department of Justice to have violated the antitrust law has been carried on in this administration without fear or favor, and that everyone who has violated it, no matter how prominent or how great his influence, has been brought before the bar of the court either in civil or criminal suit to answer the charge.

It is the custom of those who find it to their political interest to do so to sneer at, as innocuous, the decrees against the American Tobacco Company and against the Standard Oil Company, and the administration is condemned in the Democratic platform for consenting to a compromise in the Standard Oil case. There was no compromise. The Standard Oil decree was entered by the circuit court, and then by the Supreme Court, on the prayer[9] of the Government contained in the original bill filed in a previous administration.  The decree in the Tobacco case was reached after a full discussion and entered by the circuit court . . . as a proper decree, and the Government refused to appeal from it because it did not feel that it had grounds upon which to base such an appeal.  Both decrees are working well. Both decrees have introduced competition, the one into branches of the tobacco business and the other into branches of the oil business. They have not reintroduced ruinous competition, but they have affected certain prices in such a way as to show the presence of real competition. The division of the two trusts by the decrees into several companies was not expected to show immediate radical change in the business. It may take some years to show all the benefits of the dissolution, but the limitations of the decrees in those two cases are so specific as to make altogether impossible a resumption of the old combination against which the decrees were entered. Even if experience shall show the decrees to be inadequate, full opportunity in future litigation will be afforded to supply the defects.

The contest has been a long one. For years the rule laid down in the statute was ignored and laughed at, but the power of courts of justice pursuing quietly the law and enforcing it whenever opportunity arose has finally convinced the business public that the antitrust law means something, and that the policy of the administration in enforcing it means something. A number of these combinations illegally organized and maintained are now coming forward admitting their illegality and seeking a decree of dissolution, injunction, and settlement. They are quite prepared to square with that policy, provided it be definitely understood that it be impartially enforced and that security shall attend compliance with the law. . . .


I have thus outlined, Mr. Root and gentlemen, what I consider to be the chief issues of this campaign. There are others of importance, but time does not permit me to discuss them. In accordance with the usual custom I reserve the opportunity to supplement these remarks in a letter to be addressed to you at a later date when the alignments of the campaign may require further discussion.

For the present it is sufficient for me to say that it is greatly in the interest of the people to maintain the solidarity of the Republican Party for future usefulness and to continue it and its policies in control of the destinies of the Nation. I cannot think that the American people, after the scrutiny and education of a three-months’ campaign, during which they will be able to see through the fog of misrepresentation and demagoguery, will fail to recognize that the two great issues which are here presented to them are, first, whether we shall retain, on a sound and permanent basis, our popular constitutional representative form of government, with the independence of the judiciary as necessary to the preservation of those liberties that are the inheritance of centuries, and, second, whether we shall welcome prosperity which is just at our door by maintaining our present economic business basis and by the encouragement of business expansion and progress through legitimate use of capital.

I know that in this wide country there are many who call themselves Democrats, who view, with the same aversion that we Republicans do, the radical propositions of change in our form of Government that are recklessly advanced to satisfy what is supposed to be popular clamor. They are men who revere the Constitution and the institutions of their Government with all the love and respect that we could possibly have, men who deprecate disturbance in business conditions, and are yearning for that quiet from demagogic agitation which is essential to the enjoyment by the whole people of the great prosperity which the good crops and the present conditions ought to bring to us. To them I appeal, as to all Republicans, to join us in an earnest effort to avert the political and economic revolution and business paralysis which Republican defeat will bring about. Such misfortune will fall most heavily on the wage earner. May we not hope that he will see what his real interest is, will understand the shallowness of attacks upon existing institutions and deceitful promises of undefined benefit by undefined changes? May we not hope that the great majority of voters will be able to distinguish between the substance of performance and the fustian of promise; that they may be able to see that those who would deliberately stir up discontent and create hostility toward those who are conducting legitimate business enterprises, and who represent the business progress of the country, are sowing dragons’ teeth? Who are the people? They are not alone the unfortunate and the weak; they are the weak and the strong, the poor and the rich, and the many who are neither, the wage earner and the capitalist, the farmer and the professional man, the merchant and the manufacturer, the storekeeper and the clerk, the railroad manager and the employee—they all make up the people and they all contribute to the running of the Government, and they have not any of them given into the hands of anyone the mandate to speak for them as peculiarly the people’s representative. Especially does not he represent them who, assuming that the people are only the discontented, would stir them up against the remainder of those whose Government alike this is. In other campaigns before this, the American people have been confused and misled and diverted from the truth and from a clear perception of their welfare by specious appeals to their prejudices and their misunderstanding, but the clarifying effect of a campaign of education, the pricking of the bubbles of demagogic promise which the discussions of a campaign made possible, have brought the people to a clear perception of their own interests and to a rejection of the injurious nostrums that in the beginning of the campaign, it was then feared, they might embrace and adopt. So may we not expect in the issues which are now before us that the ballots cast in November shall show a prevailing majority in favor of sound progress, great prosperity upon a protection basis, and under true constitutional representative rule by the people?

  1. 1. Elihu Root (1845–1937) was a lawyer and Republican politician, who served as Secretary of State, Secretary of War, and U.S. Senator from New York.
  2. 2. Taft referred to Theodore Roosevelt. See Introduction.
  3. 3. “White slavery” was a term used to refer to forced prostitution or, especially, the transportation of women across state lines for immoral purposes.
  4. 4. Generally, common law employment meant employment in which the employer controlled the work of the employee. This also meant that the employee could be fired at the discretion of the employer.
  5. 5. “Trust” referred to control by one or more people over a number of firms operating in the same area of the economy, for example steel production or the railroads. A “Trust,” sometimes referred to as a “combination,” came about when shareholders in different corporations transferred their shares to one corporate entity that held them (hence, a “holding company”). The holding company or Trust could be used to establish a monopoly over an area of the economy. For this reason, “trust busting” became part of the U.S. government’s effort to insure free markets in the United States.
  6. 6. Taft referred to Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt, respectively. See the Introduction.
  7. 7. See Theodore Roosevelt, “The Right of the People to Rule.”
  8. 8. Payne-Aldrich Tariff Act (1909).
  9. 9. Request.
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