Wilson, TR, Taft
"Composite of Woodrow Wilson, Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft by Harris & Ewing, Pach Bros, Moffett Studio

Presidential Election of 1912 - Documents

Exhibit Homepage

We present these documents in chronological order, since they did not exist independently of one another. Rather, they constituted a dialog of political ideas, proposals, and reactions carried on throughout 1912.

Election of 1912
Delegates Cheer at 1912 Republican Convention. Library of Congress, Taken from https://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/ggbain.10546/

William H. Taft, “The Judiciary and Progress

– a speech delivered in Toledo, Ohio, in March 1912, in which the then-president expressed a conservative view on the judiciary as related to popular opinion.

Theodore Roosevelt, “The Right of the People to Rule

– a full-throated defense of populism, delivered about a week after Taft’s Toledo speech. Roosevelt answered Taft’s concerns of tyranny of the majority, and instead emphasized what he saw as existing tyrannies of powerful minorities, offering specific policy and constitutional changes to address this problem.

The Socialist Party Platform of 1912

– an important “other view” on the problems facing Americans and their possible solutions.

Socialists demonstrate in Union Square, New York City, 1912

Eugene V. Debs, “Political Appeal to American Workers

– a speech from the Socialist Party candidate, delivered in late Spring 1912, in which Debs laid out what he saw as America’s problems and their solutions.

Republican Party Platform of 1912

– released in late June, this document is useful to compare to the platforms of the other parties, with an eye toward recognizing the significant overlap in some areas, and the stark differences in others. Also, notice the considerable similarity to contemporary party platforms in regard to the various issues it raised.

Democratic Party Platform of 1912

– adopted in early July, and useful as the other party platforms are for understanding how the parties were similar and in which ways they differed..

William H. Taft, Letter Accepting the Republican Nomination

– Taft formally accepted his party’s nomination a little over a month after the platform was finalized, and it is interesting to see which parts of that document he seemed to emphasize, as well as how he defined himself and his positions as a candidate.

Theodore Roosevelt, “My Confession of Faith

– a speech from early August, wherein TR, speaking to the Progressive Party after failing to gain the Republican nomination, laid out his evolving views on the state of the nation and its need for a new direction.

Progressive Party Platform of 1912

– released only a day after TR’s speech to the new party, it aligned with his philosophy and policy proposals.

Delegates at the Democratic National Convention, 1912

Woodrow Wilson, “Speech of Acceptance

– delivered on the same day that the Progressives released their platform, Wilson outlined his brand of Progressivism and sought to differentiate it and himself from TR and Taft, as well as their parties.