1912 Democratic National Convention

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1912 Democratic National Convention
1912 Presidential Election
Woodrow Wilson-H&E.jpg Thomas Riley Marshall headshot.jpg
Nominees
Wilson and Marshall
Convention
Date(s) June 25 - July 2, 1912
City Baltimore, Maryland
Venue Fifth Regiment Armory
Candidates
Presidential nominee Woodrow Wilson of New Jersey
Vice Presidential nominee Thomas R. Marshall of Indiana
1908  ·  1916

The 1912 Democratic National Convention was held at the Fifth Regiment Armory off North Howard Street in Baltimore from June 25 to July 2, 1912. It proved to be one of the more memorable United States presidential conventions of the Twentieth Century.

The Convention[edit]

The 1912 Democratic National Convention was held at the Fifth Regiment Armory, (massive stone castle-like hall with barrel-vaulted roof, built 1900 for the famous "Dandy Fifth", 5th Maryland Regiment of the old Maryland state militia - now the Maryland National Guard) off North Howard Street in Baltimore from June 25 to July 2, 1912. As the first national political convention to be held in the old "Monumental City", which was the site of the first presidential nominating session in 1831 and of many later conventions of political parties during the mid-19th Century as a "Border City", the last in 1864 with the renomination of President Lincoln. It proved to be one of the more memorable United States presidential conventions of the Twentieth Century.

1904 Presidential nominee Judge Alton B. Parker of New York served as the Temporary Chairman and Keynote Speaker while Representative Ollie M. James of Kentucky served as Permanent Convention Chairman.

Presidential Candidates[edit]

Withdrew During Balloting[edit]

Declined[edit]

The main candidates were House Speaker Champ Clark of Missouri and Governor Woodrow Wilson of New Jersey. Both Clark and Wilson had won a number of primaries, and Clark entered the convention with more pledged delegates than did Wilson. However, he lacked the two thirds vote necessary to secure the presidential nomination.

Entrance to the 1912 DNC

Initially, the front runner appeared to be Clark, who received 440¼ votes on the first ballot to 324 for Wilson. Governor Judson Harmon of Ohio received 148 votes while U.S. Representative Oscar W. Underwood of Alabama, the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, received 117¼ with the rest of the votes scattered among the other delegates. No candidate managed to gain a majority until the ninth ballot, when the New York delegation shifted its allegiance to Clark. Due to the then-official two-thirds rule used by the Democratic Party, Clark was never able to secure the presidential nomination as he failed to get the necessary two-thirds vote for victory.

In past conventions, once a candidate received a majority of the votes, it would start a bandwagon rolling to the nomination. Clark's chances were hurt when Tammany Hall, the powerful and corrupt Democratic political machine in New York City, threw its support behind him. This was the move that gave Clark a majority on the ninth ballot, but instead of propelling Clark's bandwagon towards victory, the endorsement led William Jennings Bryan to turn against the Speaker of the House. A three-time Democratic presidential candidate and still the leader of the party's liberals, Bryan delivered a speech denouncing Clark as the candidate of "Wall Street".

Up until the Tammany endorsement, Bryan had remained neutral, but once the corrupt machine put itself behind Clark, he threw his support to New Jersey Governor Woodrow Wilson, who was regarded as a moderate reformer. Wilson had consistently finished second to Clark on each ballot, Ironically, Wilson had nearly given up hope that he could be nominated, and he was on the verge of having a concession speech read for him at the convention freeing his delegates to vote for someone else. Bryan's endorsement of Wilson influenced many other delegates, and Wilson gradually gained in strength while Clark's support dwindled. Wilson received the presidential nomination on the 46th ballot.

The 46 ballots were the most cast at a convention since 1860.

(1-24) Presidential Ballot
1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th 11th 12th 13th 14th 15th 16th 17th 18th 19th 20th 21st 22nd 23rd 24th
Woodrow Wilson 324 339.75 345 349.5 351 354 352.5 351.5 352.5 350.5 354.5 354 356 361 362.5 362.5 362.5 361 358 388.5 395.5 396.5 399 402.5
Champ Clark 440.5 446.5 441 443 443 445 449.5 448.5 452 556 554 547.5 554.5 553 552 551 545 535 532 512 508 500.5 497.5 496
Judson Harmon 148 141 140.5 136.5 141.5 135 129.5 130 127 31 29 29 29 29 29 29 29 29 29 29 29 0 0 0
Oscar Underwood 117.5 111.25 114.5 112 119.5 121 123.5 123 122.5 117.5 118.5 123 115.5 111 110.5 112.5 112.5 125 130 121.5 118.5 115 114.5 115.5
Eugene Foss 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 5 43 45 43
Thomas R. Marshall 31 31 31 31 31 31 31 31 31 31 30 30 30 30 30 30 30 30 30 30 30 30 30 30
Simeon E. Baldwin 22 14 14 14 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
William J. Bryan 1 2 1 0 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 1 1 1 7 1 1 1 1 1
John W. Kern 0 0 1 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 2 2 2 4.5 3.5 1 1 1 1 0 0
Ollie M. James 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 0
William Sulzer 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
William J. Gaynor 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0
J. Hamilton Lewis 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Blank 2 0.5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2.5 0 0 0 0 3.5 3.5 0 0 0 0 0 0
(25-46) Presidential Ballot
25th 26th 27th 28th 29th 30th 31st 32nd 33rd 34th 35th 36th 37th 38th 39th 40th 41st 42nd 43rd 44th 45th 46th Unanimous
Woodrow Wilson 405 407.5 406.5 437.5 436 460 475.5 477.5 477.5 479.5 494.5 496.5 496.5 498.5 501.5 501.5 499.5 494 602 629 633 990 1,088
Champ Clark 469 463.5 469 468.5 468.5 455 446.5 446.5 447.5 447.5 433.5 434.5 432.5 425 422 423 424 430 329 306 306 84
Judson Harmon 29 29 29 29 29 19 17 14 29 29 29 29 29 29 29 28 27 27 28 27 25 12
Oscar Underwood 108 112.5 112 112.5 112 121.5 116.5 119.5 103.5 101.5 101.5 98.5 100.5 106 106 106 106 104 98.5 99 97 0
Eugene Foss 43 43 38 38 38 30 30 28 28 28 28 28 28 28 28 28 28 28 27 27 27 0
Thomas R. Marshall 30 30 30 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Simeon E. Baldwin 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
William J. Bryan 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.5 1 0 0 0
John W. Kern 0 0 0 1 4 2 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 0 0
Ollie M. James 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0
William Sulzer 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
William J. Gaynor 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0
J. Hamilton Lewis 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0
Blank 0 1.5 2.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 1.5 0 0 2

Vice Presidential Candidates[edit]

Withdrew During Balloting[edit]
Declined[edit]

Governor Thomas R. Marshall of Indiana, who had swung his state's delegate votes to Wilson in later ballots, was named as Wilson's vice presidential running-mate. Wilson and Marshall went on to win a landslide victory in the 1912 Presidential election against a split Republican Party.

Vice Presidential Ballot
1st 2nd Unanimous
Thomas R. Marshall 389 644.5 1,088
John Burke 304.67 386.33
George E. Chamberlain 157 12.5
Elmore W. Hurst 78 0
James H. Preston 58 0
Martin J. Wade 26 0
William F. McCombs 18 0
John E. Osborne 8 0
William Sulzer 3 0
Blank 46.33 44.67

References in popular culture[edit]

The primary battles leading up to the 1912 Democratic Convention are a pivotal event in Taylor Caldwell's 1972 novel Captains and the Kings. In the novel, the fictional Irish-Catholic Rory Daniel Armagh, a U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania, emerges as the front-runner for the 1912 Democratic Presidential nomination after beating Woodrow Wilson in multiple primaries. (Unlike in real life, Champ Clark is not a factor in the novel.) In an echo of the 1968 assassination of Senator Robert F. Kennedy of New York, Armagh is assassinated as part of a conspiracy of international power brokers before the convention.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Preceded by
1908 Democratic National Convention
Democratic National Conventions
1912
Succeeded by
1916 Democratic National Convention