1912 Republican National Convention

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1912 Republican National Convention
1912 Presidential Election
William Howard Taft, Bain bw photo portrait, 1908.jpg James Sherman, Bain bw photo portrait facing left.jpg
Taft and Sherman
Date(s) June 18 – June 22, 1912
City Chicago, Illinois
Venue Chicago Coliseum
Presidential nominee William Howard Taft (OH)
Vice Presidential nominee James S. Sherman (NY)
1908  ·  1916
The 1912 Republican National Convention in session

The 1912 National Convention of the Republican Party of the United States was held at the Chicago Coliseum, Chicago, Illinois, from June 18 to June 22, 1912. The party nominated President William Howard Taft and Vice President James S. Sherman for re-election.

Sherman died days before the election, and was replaced as Republican vice-presidential nominee by Nicholas M. Butler of New York.

Party power struggle[edit]

This convention marked the beginning of a split in the party, resulting from a power struggle between incumbent Taft and former president Theodore Roosevelt. This was the first year for Republican primaries. Though Roosevelt had endorsed Taft as his successor, Taft's perceived drift to the right had alienated Roosevelt, who launched a challenge to Taft's re-nomination. Roosevelt overwhelmingly won the primaries — winning 9 out of 12 states (8 by landslide margins). Taft won only the state of Massachusetts (by a small margin); he even lost his home state of Ohio to Roosevelt. Senator Robert M. La Follette, a reformer, won two states. Through the primaries, Senator LaFollette won a total of 36 delegates; President Taft won 48 delegates; and Roosevelt won 278 delegates. However 36 states did not hold primaries, but instead selected delegates via state conventions.

Entering the convention, the Roosevelt and Taft forces seemed evenly matched, and a compromise candidate seemed possible.[1] The Taft and Roosevelt camps engaged in a fight for the delegations of various states, with Taft emerging victorious, and Roosevelt claiming that several delegations were fraudulently seated.[2] Following the seating of the anti-Roosevelt delegations, California Governor Hiram Johnson proclaimed that progressives would form a new party to nominate Roosevelt.[2] Though many of Roosevelt's delegates remained at the convention, most refused to take part in the presidential ballot in protest of the contested delegates.[3] Roosevelt ultimately ran a third party campaign as part of the Bull Moose Party. Taft and Roosevelt both lost the 1912 election to the Democratic nominee, Woodrow Wilson.

Like Taft, Vice President James S. Sherman of New York was renominated by the party.[4] Though Taft and Sherman did not get along early in their tenure, the two became closer allies as Taft's split with Roosevelt deepened, and Taft did not object to the re-nomination of Sherman.[4] Taft's allies sought progressive leaders such as Idaho Senator William E. Borah and Vermont Governor John A. Mead to join the ticket, but both declined to be considered.[4] Missouri Governor Herbert S. Hadley and former Vice President Charles Fairbanks were also mentioned as possibilities.[4] Sherman died shortly before the election, and was not formally replaced on the ticket.[5] In January, after the election had already been decided, Republican leaders appointed Columbia University president Nicholas Butler to fill out the ticket for the purposes of receiving electoral votes.[5]

Detailed results[edit]


  1. William Howard Taft — 302 votes
  2. Theodore Roosevelt — 107 votes
  3. Robert La Follette — ~36 votes
  4. Abstained (Roosevelt delegates) — 322 votes

Vice President[edit]

  1. James S. Sherman  ??? votes

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Taft Victory in the First Clash; Root Chosen Chairman, 558 to 502". New York Times. 19 June 1912. Retrieved 8 October 2015. 
  2. ^ a b "Roosevelt, Beaten, to Bolt Today; Gives the Word in Early Morning; Taft's Nomination Seems Assured". New York Times. 20 June 1912. Retrieved 8 October 2015. 
  3. ^ "Taft Renominated by the Republican Convention; Roosevelt Named as Candidate by Bolters". New York Times. 23 June 1912. Retrieved 8 October 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Plan is to Nominate Taft Tonight; Roosevelt Orders Name Withheld; He Shifts on Third Party Plans". New York Times. 22 June 1912. Retrieved 8 October 2015. 
  5. ^ a b "James S. Sherman, 27th Vice President (1909-1912)". US Senate. US Senate. Retrieved 9 October 2015. 

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

Preceded by
Chicago, Illinois
Republican National Conventions Succeeded by
Chicago, Illinois