1912 United States presidential election

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1912 United States presidential election

← 1908 November 5, 1912 1916 →

531 members of the Electoral College
266 electoral votes needed to win
Turnout58.8%[1] Decrease 6.6 pp
  Woodrow Wilson-H&E.jpg Theodore Roosevelt-Pach.jpg
Nominee Woodrow Wilson Theodore Roosevelt
Party Democratic Progressive
Home state New Jersey New York
Running mate Thomas R. Marshall Hiram Johnson
Electoral vote 435 88
States carried 40 6
Popular vote 6,296,284 4,122,721
Percentage 41.8% 27.4%

  William Howard Taft - Harris and Ewing.jpg EugeneVictorDebs.jpg
Nominee William Howard Taft Eugene V. Debs
Party Republican Socialist
Home state Ohio Indiana
Running mate Nicholas M. Butler
(replaced James S. Sherman)
Emil Seidel
Electoral vote 8 0
States carried 2 0
Popular vote 3,486,242 901,551
Percentage 23.2% 6.0%

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About this image
Presidential election results map. Blue denotes those won by Wilson/Marshall, light green denotes those won by Roosevelt/Johnson, red denotes states won by Taft/Butler. Numbers indicate the number of electoral votes allotted to each state.

President before election

William Howard Taft
Republican

Elected President

Woodrow Wilson
Democratic

The 1912 United States presidential election was the 32nd quadrennial presidential election, held on Tuesday, November 5. Democratic Governor Woodrow Wilson unseated incumbent Republican President William Howard Taft and defeated former President Theodore Roosevelt, who ran under the banner of the new Progressive or "Bull Moose" Party.[2][3] As of 2020, this is the most recent presidential election in which a top two finisher was neither a Democrat nor a Republican.

Roosevelt served as president from 1901 to 1909 as a Republican, and Taft succeeded him with his support. However, Taft's actions as President displeased Roosevelt, and Roosevelt challenged Taft for the party nomination at the 1912 Republican National Convention. When Taft and his conservative allies narrowly prevailed, Roosevelt rallied his progressive supporters and launched a third party bid. At the Democratic Convention, Wilson won the presidential nomination on the 46th ballot, defeating Speaker of the House Champ Clark and several other candidates with the support of William Jennings Bryan and other progressive Democrats. The Socialist Party renominated its perennial standard-bearer, Eugene V. Debs.

The general election was bitterly contested by Wilson, Roosevelt, and Taft. Roosevelt's "New Nationalism" platform called for social insurance programs, reduction to an eight-hour workday, and robust federal regulation of the economy. Wilson's "New Freedom" platform called for tariff reduction, banking reform, and new antitrust regulation. With little chance of victory, Taft conducted a subdued campaign based on his own platform of "progressive conservatism." Debs claimed the three candidates were financed by trusts and tried to galvanize support behind his socialist policies.

Wilson took advantage of the Republican split, winning 40 states and a large majority of the electoral vote with just 41.8% of the popular vote, the lowest support for any President after 1860. Wilson was the first Democrat to win a presidential election since 1892 and one of just two Democratic presidents to serve between 1861 (the American Civil War) and 1932 (the onset of the Great Depression). Roosevelt finished second with 88 electoral votes and 27% of the popular vote. Taft carried 23% of the national vote and won two states Vermont and Utah. He was the first Republican to lose the Northern states. Debs won no electoral votes, but took 6% of the popular vote, which remains the highest ever for a Socialist candidate as of 2020. With Wilson's decisive win, he became the first presidential candidate to receive over 400 electoral votes in a presidential election.

Background[edit]

Republican President Theodore Roosevelt had declined to run for re-election in 1908 in fulfillment of a pledge to the American people not to seek a third term.[a] Roosevelt had tapped Secretary of War William Howard Taft to become his successor, and Taft defeated William Jennings Bryan in the 1908 general election.

Republican Party split[edit]

A Punch cartoon by Leonard Raven-Hill, depicting the perceived aggression between Taft and Roosevelt.

During Taft's administration, a rift developed between Roosevelt and Taft, and they became the leaders of the Republican Party's two wings: progressives led by Roosevelt and conservatives led by Taft. Progressives favored labor restrictions protecting women and children, promoted ecological conservation, and were more sympathetic toward labor unions. They also favored the popular election of federal and state judges over appointment by the President or governors. Conservatives supported high tariffs to encourage domestic production, but favored business leaders over labor unions and were generally opposed to the popular election of judges.

Cracks in the party began to show when Taft supported the Payne–Aldrich Tariff Act in 1909.[4] The Act favored the industrial Northeast and angered the Northwest and South, where demand was strong for tariff reductions.[5] Early in his term, President Taft had promised to stand for a lower tariff bill, but protectionism had been a major policy of the Republican Party since its founding.[6]

Taft also abandoned Roosevelt's antitrust policy[7][dubious ] and fired popular conservationist Gifford Pinchot as head of the Bureau of Forestry in 1910.[8] By 1910, the split within the party was deep, and Roosevelt and Taft turned against one another despite their personal friendship. That summer, Roosevelt began a national speaking tour in which he outlined his progressive philosophy and the New Nationalist platform, which he introduced in a speech in Osawatomie, Kansas on August 31.[9] In the 1910 midterm elections, the Republicans lost 57 seats in the House of Representatives as the Democrats gained a majority for the first time since 1894. These results were a large defeat for the conservative wing of the party.[10] James E. Campbell writes that one cause may have been a large amount of progressive voters choosing third-party candidates over conservative Republicans.[11] Nevertheless, Roosevelt continued to reject calls to run for president into the year 1911. In a January letter to newspaper editor William Allen White, he wrote, "I do not think there is one chance in a thousand that it will ever be wise to have me nominated."[12] However, speculation continued, further harming Roosevelt and Taft's relationship. After months of continually increasing support, Roosevelt changed his position, writing to journalist Henry Beach Needham in January 1912 that if the nomination "comes to me as a genuine public movement of course I will accept."[13]

Nominations[edit]

Republican Party nomination[edit]

Republican Party (United States)
1912 Republican Party ticket
William Howard Taft James S. Sherman
for President for Vice President
William Howard Taft - Harris and Ewing.jpg
James Schoolcraft Sherman.jpg
27th
President of the United States
(1909–1913)
27th
Vice President of the United States
(1909–1912)

Candidates gallery[edit]

Delegate selection[edit]

For the first time, many convention delegates were elected in presidential preference primaries. Progressive Republicans advocated primary elections as a way of breaking the control of political parties by bosses. Altogether, twelve states held Republican primaries.

Senator Robert M. La Follette won two of the first four primaries (North Dakota and his home state of Wisconsin), but Taft won a major victory in Roosevelt's home state of New York and continued to rack up delegates in more conservative, traditional state conventions.

However, on March 28, Roosevelt issued an ultimatum: if Republicans did not nominate him, he would run as an independent. Beginning with a runaway victory in Illinois on April 9, Roosevelt won nine of the last ten presidential primaries (including Taft's home state of Ohio), losing only Massachusetts.[14]

Taft also had support from the bulk of the Southern Republican organizations. Delegates from the former Confederate states supported Taft by a 5 to 1 margin. These states had voted solidly Democratic in every presidential election since 1880, and Roosevelt objected that they were given one-quarter of the delegates when they would contribute nothing to a Republican victory.

Convention[edit]

The Republican Convention convened in Chicago from June 18 to 22. In the weeks leading up to the convention, many delegates remained uncommitted to a candidate, but by the time the convention formally opened, Taft had won the support of almost every unbound delegate.[15] Roosevelt accused Taft of stealing votes and attempted to have delegates from Arizona, California, Texas, and Washington — all states in favor of Taft — removed from the convention, but he was unsuccessful.[16] The delegates chose Taft supporter Elihu Root to serve as chairman of the convention, a move that signaled that Taft was likely to win the nomination.[17]

Roosevelt broke with tradition and attended the convention in person, where he was welcomed with great support from voters.[18] Despite Roosevelt's presence in Chicago and his attempts to disqualify Taft supporters, the incumbent ticket of Taft and James S. Sherman was renominated on the first ballot.[19] Sherman was the first sitting Vice President re-nominated since John C. Calhoun in 1828. After losing the vote, Roosevelt announced the formation of a new party dedicated "to the service of all the people."[20] This would later come to be known as the Progressive Party. Roosevelt announced that his party would hold its own convention in Chicago and that he would accept their nomination if offered.[20] Meanwhile, Taft decided not to campaign before the election beyond his acceptance speech on August 1.[21]

Not since the 1884 election had there been a major schism in the Republican Party, when the Mugwump faction repudiated nominee James G. Blaine and broke with the party. The schism, in which Roosevelt had nearly participated after fighting Blaine's nomination, was a major factor in Blaine's loss to Grover Cleveland.[citation needed]

Presidential Ballot[22][23][24]
William Howard Taft 561
Theodore Roosevelt 107
Robert M. La Follette 41
Albert B. Cummins 17
Charles Evans Hughes 2
Present, not voting 344
Absent 6
Vice Presidential Ballot
James S. Sherman 596
William Borah 21
Charles Edward Merriam 20
Herbert S. Hadley 14
Albert J. Beveridge 2

Democratic Party nomination[edit]

Democratic Party (United States)
1912 Democratic Party ticket
Woodrow Wilson Thomas R. Marshall
for President for Vice President
Woodrow Wilson-H&E.jpg
Thomas Riley Marshall headshot (3x4).jpg
34th
Governor of New Jersey
(1911–1913)
27th
Governor of Indiana
(1909–1913)

Candidates gallery[edit]

The Democratic Convention was held in Baltimore from June 25 to July 2.

Initially, the front-runner was Speaker of the House Champ Clark of Missouri. Though Clark received the most votes on early ballots, he was unable to get the two-thirds majority required to win.

Clark's chances were hurt when Tammany Hall, the powerful New York City Democratic political machine, threw its support behind him. The Tammany endorsement caused William Jennings Bryan, three-time Democratic presidential candidate and leader of the party's progressives, to turn against Clark. Bryan shifted his support to reformist Governor of New Jersey Woodrow Wilson and decried Clark as the candidate of Wall Street. Wilson had consistently finished second in balloting.

Wilson had nearly given up hope and was on the verge of freeing his delegates to vote for another candidate. Instead, Bryan's defection from Clark to Wilson led many other delegates to do the same. Wilson gradually gained strength while Clark's support dwindled, and Wilson finally received the nomination on the 46th ballot.

Thomas R. Marshall, the Governor of Indiana who had swung Indiana's votes to Wilson, was named Wilson's running mate.

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

Progressive Party nomination[edit]

1912 Progressive Party ticket
Theodore Roosevelt Hiram Johnson
for President for Vice President
T Roosevelt.jpg
Souvenir of the unveiling, dedication and presentation of the Abraham Lincoln G. A. R. memorial monument - dedicated to the veterans of the Civil War, 1861-1865, at Long Beach, California, July 3rd, (14576262447).jpg
26th
President of the United States
(1901–1909)
23rd
Governor of California
(1911–1917)
Progressive convention, 1912

Progressives reconvened in Chicago and endorsed the formation of a national Progressive Party. The party was funded by publisher Frank Munsey and businessman George Walbridge Perkins, who served as executive secretary. At their convention on August 5, the new party chose Roosevelt as its presidential nominee and Governor Hiram Johnson from California as his vice presidential running mate.

The Progressives promised to increase federal regulation and protect the welfare of ordinary people. At the convention, Perkins blocked an antitrust plank, shocking reformers who thought of Roosevelt as a true trust-buster.[citation needed] The delegates to the convention sang the hymn "Onward, Christian Soldiers" as their anthem. In his 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."[citation needed]

Most of progressive politicians remained in the Republican Party.

Socialist Party nomination[edit]

1912 Socialist Party ticket
Eugene V. Debs Emil Seidel
for President for Vice President
Eugene V Debs 1912.jpg
Seidell-Emil-1910.jpg
Former Indiana State Senator
(1885–1889)
36th
Mayor of Milwaukee
(1910–1912)

Socialist candidates:

Eugene V. Debs's 6% was an all-time high for the Socialist Party

The Socialist Party of America was a highly factionalized coalition of local parties based in industrial cities and rooted in ethnic, especially German and Finnish, communities. It had some support in formerly Populist rural and mining areas in the West, especially Oklahoma. By 1912, the party claimed more than a thousand locally elected officials in 33 states and 160 cities, especially the Midwest. Eugene V. Debs had run for president in 1900, 1904, and 1908, primarily to encourage the local effort, and he did so again in 1912 with little challenge to his nomination.[25]

The party was divided into two main factions. The conservative faction led by Congressman Victor L. Berger of Milwaukee promoted pragmatic democratic reform, fought corruption, and opposed immigration as both a wage suppressant and drain on public resources. The radical faction sought to overthrow capitalism, tried to infiltrate labor unions, and sought to cooperate with the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW or "Wobblies"). It supported immigration as a means to increase ranks for the war on capitalism. With few exceptions, the party had weak or nonexistent links to local labor unions.[citation needed]

Many of these issues had been debated at the First National Congress of the Socialist Party in 1910 and again at the 1912 national convention in Indianapolis. At the convention, the radicals won an early test by seating IWW leader Bill Haywood on the Executive Committee and passed a resolution favoring industrial unionism. Conservatives responded by amending the party constitution to expel any who favored industrial sabotage or syndicalism (both being positions of the IWW) and who refused to participate in American elections. The convention adopted a conservative platform calling for cooperative organization of prisons, a national bureau of health, and abolition of the Senate and of the presidential veto.[citation needed]

Debs did not attend. He saw his mission as keeping the disparate units together in the hope that someday a common goal would be found.[citation needed]

Presidential Ballot
Eugene V. Debs 165
Emil Seidel 56
Charles Edward Russell 54
Vice Presidential Ballot
Emil Seidel 159
Dan Hogan 73
John W. Slayton 24

General election[edit]

The 1912 presidential campaign was bitterly contested.

Roosevelt conducted a vigorous national campaign for the Progressive Party, denouncing the way the Republican nomination had been "stolen". He bundled together his reforms under the rubric of "The New Nationalism" and stumped the country for a strong federal role in regulating the economy and chastising bad corporations.[citation needed] Roosevelt rallied progressives with speeches denouncing the political establishment. He promised "an expert tariff commission, wholly removed from the possibility of political pressure or of improper business influence."[26]

Wilson supported a policy called "The New Freedom". This policy was based mostly on individualism instead of a strong government.[citation needed]

A Republican editorial cartoon decipts Roosevelt mixing "radical" ingredients in his speeches.

Though Wilson's rhetoric paid homage to the traditional skepticism of government and "collectivism" in the Democratic Party, after his election he would embrace some of the progressive reforms which Roosevelt campaigned on.

A Republican campaign postcard charges a Wilson administration would force pensioners back to work.

Taft campaigned quietly, and spoke of the need for judges to be more powerful than elected officials. The departure of the progressives left the conservative even more firmly in control of the Republican Party. Much of the Republican effort was designed to discredit Roosevelt as a dangerous radical, but this had little effect.[citation needed] Many of the nation's pro-Republican newspapers depicted Roosevelt as an egotist running only to spoil Taft's chances and feed his vanity.[citation needed]

The Socialists had little funding. Debs' campaign spent only $66,000, mostly on 3.5 million leaflets and travel to locally organized rallies. His biggest event was a speech to 15,000 supporters in New York City. The crowd sang "La Marseillaise" and "The Internationale." Debs's running mate Emil Seidel boasted:

"Only a year ago workingmen were throwing decayed vegetables and rotten eggs at us but now all is changed... Eggs are too high. There is a great giant growing up in this country that will someday take over the affairs of this nation. He is a little giant now but he is growing fast. The name of this little giant is socialism."

Debs insisted that Democrats, Progressives, and Republicans alike were financed by the trusts and that only the Socialists represented labor. He condemned "Injunction Bill Taft" and ridiculed Roosevelt as "a charlatan, mountebank, and fraud, and his Progressive promises and pledges as the mouthings of a low and utterly unprincipled self seeker and demagogue." However, labor unions largely rejected Debs and supported Wilson.[citation needed]

Attempted assassination of Theodore Roosevelt[edit]

At a campaign stop in Milwaukee on October 14, John Flammang Schrank, a saloonkeeper from New York, shot Roosevelt in the chest. The bullet penetrated his steel eyeglass case and a 50-page single-folded copy of his speech Progressive Cause Greater Than Any Individual and became lodged in his chest. Schrank was immediately disarmed and captured.[27] Schrank had been stalking Roosevelt. He was demented and said the ghost of President McKinley ordered him to kill Roosevelt to prevent a third term.[28]

Roosevelt shouted for Schrank to remain unharmed and assured the crowd he was all right, then ordered police to take charge of Schrank and ensure no violence was done to him.[29] Roosevelt, an experienced hunter and anatomist, correctly concluded that since he was not coughing blood, the bullet had not reached his lung. He declined suggestions to go to the hospital and instead delivered his scheduled speech with blood seeping into his shirt.[30] His opening comments to the gathered crowd were, "Ladies and gentlemen, I don't know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot, but it takes more than that to kill a bull moose." He spoke for 90 minutes before completing his speech and accepting medical attention.[31][32]

Afterwards, probes and an x-ray showed that the bullet had lodged in Roosevelt's chest muscle, but did not penetrate the pleura. Doctors concluded that it would be less dangerous to leave it in place than to attempt to remove it, and Roosevelt carried the bullet with him for the rest of his life.[33][34]

Taft was not campaigning and focused on his presidential duties. Wilson briefly suspended his own campaigning. By October 17, Wilson was back on the campaign trail but avoided any criticism of Roosevelt or his party.[35] He spent two weeks recuperating before returning to the campaign trail with a major speech on October 30, designed to reassure his supporters he was strong enough for the presidency.[36]

Death of Vice President Sherman[edit]

Vice President James S. Sherman died on October 30, less than one week before the election, leaving Taft without a running mate. (Nicholas M. Butler was designated to receive electoral votes that would have been cast for Sherman.)

Results[edit]

On November 5, Wilson captured the presidency handily by carrying a record 40 states.

As of 2020, this is the only presidential election since the Civil War in which a third party candidate outperformed a Republican or Democrat in the general election. Taft's result remains the worst performance for any incumbent president, both in terms of electoral votes (8) and share of popular votes (23.17%). His 8 electoral votes remain the fewest by a Republican or Democrat, matched by Alf Landon's 1936 campaign.

Electoral results[edit]

Electoral results
Presidential candidate Party Home state Popular vote Electoral
vote
Running mate
Count Percentage Vice-presidential candidate Home state Electoral vote
Thomas Woodrow Wilson Democratic New Jersey 6,296,284 41.84% 435 Thomas Riley Marshall Indiana 435
Theodore Roosevelt Jr. Progressive New York 4,122,721 27.40% 88 Hiram Warren Johnson California 88
William Howard Taft (Incumbent) Republican Ohio 3,486,242 23.17% 8 Nicholas Murray Butler New York 8
Eugene Victor Debs Socialist Indiana 901,551 5.99% 0 Emil Seidel Wisconsin 0
Eugene Wilder Chafin Prohibition Arizona 208,156 1.38% 0 Aaron Sherman Watkins Ohio 0
Arthur Elmer Reimer Socialist Labor Massachusetts 29,324 0.19% 0 August Gillhaus New York 0
Other 4,556 0.03% Other
Total 15,048,834 100% 531 531
Needed to win 266 266
Popular vote
Wilson
41.84%
Roosevelt
27.40%
Taft
23.17%
Debs
5.99%
Others
1.60%
Electoral vote
Wilson
81.92%
Roosevelt
16.57%
Taft
1.51%

Source (Popular Vote): Leip, David. "1912 Presidential Election Results". Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections. Retrieved July 28, 2005.

Source (Electoral Vote): "Electoral College Box Scores 1789–1996". National Archives and Records Administration. Retrieved July 31, 2005.

Statistical analysis[edit]

Wilson's raw vote total was less than William Jennings Bryan totaled in any of his three campaigns.[37] In only two regions, New England and the Pacific, was Wilson's vote greater than the greatest Bryan vote.[38]

Results by state[edit]

The 1912 election was the first to include all 48 of the current contiguous United States.

Few states were carried by any candidate with a majority of the popular vote. Wilson won a majority in eleven former Confederate states. Only South Dakota, where Taft did not appear on the ballot, gave Roosevelt a majority. Taft won only two states, Vermont and Utah, each with a plurality.[37]

This was the first time since 1852 that Iowa, Maine, New Hampshire, Ohio, and Rhode Island voted for a Democrat, and the first time in history that Massachusetts voted Democratic.

Democrats would not win Maine again until 1964, Connecticut and Delaware until 1936, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, West Virginia, and Wisconsin until 1932, and Massachusetts and Rhode Island until 1928.

States/districts won by Wilson/Marshall
States/districts won by Roosevelt/Johnson
States/districts won by Taft/Butler
Woodrow Wilson
Democratic
Theodore Roosevelt
Progressive
William H. Taft
Republican
Eugene V. Debs
Socialist
Eugene Chafin
Prohibition
Arthur Reimer
Socialist Labor
Margin State Total
State electoral
votes
# % electoral
votes
# % electoral
votes
# % electoral
votes
# % electoral
votes
# % electoral
votes
# % electoral
votes
# % #
Alabama 12 82,438 69.89 12 22,680 19.23 - 9,807 8.31 - 3,029 2.57 - - - - - - - 59,758 50.66 117,959 AL
Arizona 3 10,324 43.52 3 6,949 29.29 - 3,021 12.74 - 3,163 13.33 - 265 1.12 - - - - 3,375 14.23 23,722 AZ
Arkansas 9 68,814 55.01 9 21,644 17.30 - 25,585 20.45 - 8,153 6.52 - 908 0.73 - - - - 43,229 34.55 125,104 AR
California 13 283,436 41.81 2 283,610 41.83 11 3,914 0.58 - 79,201 11.68 - 23,366 3.45 - - - - -174 -0.03 673,527 CA
Colorado 6 114,232 42.80 6 72,306 27.09 - 58,386 21.88 - 16,418 6.15 - 5,063 1.90 - 475 0.18 - 41,926 15.71 266,880 CO
Connecticut 7 74,561 39.16 7 34,129 17.92 - 68,324 35.88 - 10,056 5.28 - 2,068 1.09 - 1,260 0.66 - 6,237 3.28 190,398 CT
Delaware 3 22,631 46.48 3 8,886 18.25 - 15,998 32.85 - 556 1.14 - 623 1.28 - - - - 6,633 13.62 48,694 DE
Florida 6 35,343 69.52 6 4,555 8.96 - 4,279 8.42 - 4,806 9.45 - 1,854 3.65 - - - - 30,537 60.07 50,837 FL
Georgia 14 93,087 76.63 14 21,985 18.10 - 5,191 4.27 - 1,058 0.87 - 149 0.12 - - - - 71,102 58.53 121,470 GA
Idaho 4 33,921 32.08 4 25,527 24.14 - 32,810 31.02 - 11,960 11.31 - 1,536 1.45 - - - - 1,111 1.05 105,754 ID
Illinois 29 405,048 35.34 29 386,478 33.72 - 253,593 22.13 - 81,278 7.09 - 15,710 1.37 - 4,066 0.35 - 18,570 1.62 1,146,173 IL
Indiana 15 281,890 43.07 15 162,007 24.75 - 151,267 23.11 - 36,931 5.64 - 19,249 2.94 - 3,130 0.48 - 119,883 18.32 654,474 IN
Iowa 13 185,325 37.64 13 161,819 32.87 - 119,805 24.33 - 16,967 3.45 - 8,440 1.71 - - - - 23,506 4.77 492,356 IA
Kansas 10 143,663 39.30 10 120,210 32.88 - 74,845 20.47 - 26,779 7.33 - - - - - - - 23,453 6.42 365,497 KS
Kentucky 13 219,484 48.48 13 101,766 22.48 - 115,510 25.52 - 11,646 2.57 - 3,253 0.72 - 1,055 0.23 - 103,974 22.97 452,714 KY
Louisiana 10 60,871 76.81 10 9,283 11.71 - 3,833 4.84 - 5,261 6.64 - - - - - - - 51,588 65.10 79,248 LA
Maine 6 51,113 39.43 6 48,495 37.41 - 26,545 20.48 - 2,541 1.96 - 946 0.73 - - - - 2,618 2.02 129,640 ME
Maryland 8 112,674 48.57 8 57,789 24.91 - 54,956 23.69 - 3,996 1.72 - 2,244 0.97 - 322 0.14 - 54,885 23.66 231,981 MD
Massachusetts 18 173,408 35.53 18 142,228 29.14 - 155,948 31.95 - 12,616 2.58 - 2,754 0.56 - 1,102 0.23 - 17,460 3.58 488,056 MA
Michigan 15 150,751 27.36 - 214,584 38.95 15 152,244 27.63 - 23,211 4.21 - 8,934 1.62 - 1,252 0.23 - -62,340 -11.31 550,976 MI
Minnesota 12 106,426 31.84 - 125,856 37.66 12 64,334 19.25 - 27,505 8.23 - 7,886 2.36 - 2,212 0.66 - -19,430 -5.81 334,219 MN
Mississippi 10 57,324 88.90 10 3,549 5.50 - 1,560 2.42 - 2,050 3.18 - - - - - - - 53,775 83.39 64,483 MS
Missouri 18 330,746 47.35 18 124,375 17.80 - 207,821 29.75 - 28,466 4.07 - 5,380 0.77 - 1,778 0.25 - 122,925 17.60 698,566 MO
Montana 4 27,941 35.00 4 22,456 28.13 - 18,512 23.19 - 10,885 13.64 - 32 0.04 - - - - 5,485 6.87 79,826 MT
Nebraska 8 109,008 43.69 8 72,681 29.13 - 54,226 21.74 - 10,185 4.08 - 3,383 1.36 - - - - 36,327 14.56 249,483 NE
Nevada 3 7,986 39.70 3 5,620 27.94 - 3,196 15.89 - 3,313 16.47 - - - - - - - 2,366 11.76 20,115 NV
New Hampshire 4 34,724 39.48 4 17,794 20.23 - 32,927 37.43 - 1,981 2.25 - 535 0.61 - - - - 1,797 2.04 87,961 NH
New Jersey 14 178,289 41.20 14 145,410 33.60 - 88,835 20.53 - 15,948 3.69 - 2,936 0.68 - 1,321 0.31 - 32,879 7.60 432,739 NJ
New Mexico 3 20,437 41.39 3 8,347 16.90 - 17,733 35.91 - 2,859 5.79 - - - - - - - 2,704 5.48 49,376 NM
New York 45 655,573 41.27 45 390,093 24.56 - 455,487 28.68 - 63,434 3.99 - 19,455 1.22 - 4,273 0.27 - 200,086 12.60 1,588,315 NY
North Carolina 12 144,407 59.24 12 69,135 28.36 - 29,129 11.95 - 987 0.40 - 118 0.05 - - - - 75,272 30.88 243,776 NC
North Dakota 5 29,555 34.14 5 25,726 29.71 - 23,090 26.67 - 6,966 8.05 - 1,243 1.44 - - - - 3,829 4.42 86,580 ND
Ohio 24 424,834 40.96 24 229,807 22.16 - 278,168 26.82 - 90,144 8.69 - 11,511 1.11 - 2,630 0.25 - 146,666 14.14 1,037,094 OH
Oklahoma 10 119,156 46.95 10 - - - 90,786 35.77 - 41,674 16.42 - 2,185 0.86 - - - - 28,370 11.18 253,801 OK
Oregon 5 47,064 34.34 5 37,600 27.44 - 34,673 25.30 - 13,343 9.74 - 4,360 3.18 - - - - 9,464 6.91 137,040 OR
Pennsylvania 38 395,637 32.49 - 444,894 36.53 38 273,360 22.45 - 83,614 6.87 - 19,525 1.60 - 706 0.06 - -49,257 -4.04 1,217,736 PA
Rhode Island 5 30,412 39.04 5 16,878 21.67 - 27,703 35.56 - 2,049 2.63 - 616 0.79 - 236 0.30 - 2,709 3.48 77,894 RI
South Carolina 9 48,357 95.94 9 1,293 2.57 - 536 1.06 - 164 0.33 - - - - - - - 47,064 93.37 50,350 SC
South Dakota 5 48,942 42.07 - 58,811 50.56 5 - - - 4,662 4.01 - 3,910 3.36 - - - - -9,869 -8.48 116,325 SD
Tennessee 12 133,021 52.80 12 54,041 21.45 - 60,475 24.00 - 3,564 1.41 - 832 0.33 - - - - 72,546 28.80 251,933 TN
Texas 20 221,589 72.62 20 28,853 9.46 - 26,755 8.77 - 25,743 8.44 - 1,738 0.57 - 442 0.14 - 192,736 63.17 305,120 TX
Utah 4 36,579 32.55 - 24,174 21.51 - 42,100 37.46 4 9,023 8.03 - - - - 510 0.45 - -5,521 -4.91 112,386 UT
Vermont 4 15,354 24.43 - 22,132 35.22 - 23,332 37.13 4 928 1.48 - 1,095 1.74 - - - - -1,200 -1.91 62,841 VT
Virginia 12 90,332 65.95 12 21,776 15.90 - 23,288 17.00 - 820 0.60 - 709 0.52 - 50 0.04 - 67,044 48.95 136,975 VA
Washington 7 86,840 26.90 - 113,698 35.22 7 70,445 21.82 - 40,134 12.43 - 9,810 3.04 - 1,872 0.58 - -26,858 -8.32 322,799 WA
West Virginia 8 113,197 42.11 8 79,112 29.43 - 56,754 21.11 - 15,248 5.67 - 4,517 1.68 - - - - 34,085 12.68 268,828 WV
Wisconsin 13 164,230 41.06 13 62,448 15.61 - 130,596 32.65 - 33,476 8.37 - 8,584 2.15 - 632 0.16 - 33,634 8.41 399,966 WI
Wyoming 3 15,310 36.20 3 9,232 21.83 - 14,560 34.42 - 2,760 6.53 - 434 1.03 - - - - 750 1.77 42,296 WY
TOTALS: 531 6,296,284 41.84 435 4,122,721 27.40 88 3,486,242 23.17 8 901,551 5.99 - 208,156 1.38 - 29,324 0.19 - 2,173,563 14.44 15,044,278 US

Close states[edit]

Margin of victory less than 1% (13 electoral votes):

  1. California, 0.03%

Margin of victory less than 5% (142 electoral votes):

  1. Idaho, 1.05%
  2. Illinois, 1.62%
  3. Wyoming, 1.77%
  4. Vermont, 1.91%
  5. Maine, 2.02%
  6. New Hampshire, 2.04%
  7. Connecticut, 3.28%
  8. Rhode Island, 3.48%
  9. Massachusetts, 3.58%
  10. Pennsylvania, 4.04%
  11. North Dakota, 4.42%
  12. Iowa, 4.77%
  13. Utah, 4.91%

Margin of victory between 5% and 10% (73 electoral votes):

  1. New Mexico, 5.48%
  2. Minnesota, 5.81%
  3. Kansas, 6.42%
  4. Montana, 6.87%
  5. Oregon, 6.91%
  6. New Jersey, 7.60%
  7. Washington, 8.32%
  8. Wisconsin, 8.41%
  9. South Dakota, 8.48%

Tipping point state:

  1. New York, 12.6% (for a Wilson victory)
  2. Ohio, 18.9% (for a Roosevelt victory)

By county[edit]

In a plurality of 1,396 counties, no candidate obtained a majority.[39]

Wilson won 1,969 counties but held a majority in only 1,237, less than Bryan had had in any of his campaigns.[38]

"Other(s)", mostly Roosevelt, won a plurality in 772 counties and a majority in 305 counties. Most of them in Pennsylvania (48), Illinois (33), Michigan (68), Minnesota (75), Iowa (49), South Dakota (54), Nebraska (32), Kansas (51), Washington (38), and California (44).

Debs carried four counties: Lake and Beltrami in Minnesota, Burke in North Dakota, and Crawford in Kansas. These are the only counties ever to vote for the Socialist presidential nominee.

Taft won a plurality in only 232 counties and a majority in only 35. In addition to South Dakota and California, where there was no Taft ticket, Taft carried no counties in Maine, New Jersey, Minnesota, Nevada, Arizona, and seven "Solid South" states.[38]

Nine counties did not record any votes due to either black disenfranchisement or being inhabited only by Native Americans, who would not gain full citizenship for twelve more years.

As of 2020, 1912 remains the last election in which the key Indiana counties of Hamilton and Hendricks, along with Walworth County, Wisconsin, Pulaski and Laurel Counties in Kentucky and Hawkins County, Tennessee have given a plurality to the Democratic candidate.[40]

Counties with Highest Percent of Vote (Democratic)

  1. Greenville County, South Carolina 100.00%
  2. Marlboro County, South Carolina 100.00%
  3. Hampton County, South Carolina 100.00%
  4. Jasper County, South Carolina 100.00%
  5. Reagan County, Texas 100.00%

Counties with Highest Percent of Vote (Other)

  1. Scott County, Tennessee 82.80%
  2. Campbell County, South Dakota 80.42%
  3. Clearwater County, Minnesota 77.35%
  4. Avery County, North Carolina 72.84%
  5. Cook County, Minnesota 72.70%

Counties with Highest Percent of Vote (Republican)

  1. Zapata County, Texas 80.89%
  2. Valencia County, New Mexico 77.25%
  3. Kane County, Utah 75.40%
  4. Clinton County, Kentucky 64.79%
  5. Huerfano County, Colorado 63.36%

Maps[edit]

By city[edit]

City ST Wilson Taft Roosevelt Debs Others Totals
San Francisco CA 48,953 65 38,610 12,354 1,166 101,148
Denver CO 26,690 8,155 25,154 2,750 764 63,513
Bridgeport CT 5,870 4,625 3,654 1,511 284 15,944
Hartford CT 7,481 6,396 2,467 849 258 17,451
New Haven CT 8,946 7,291 3,252 1,696 442 21,627
Waterbury CT 4,440 3,261 1,675 787 212 10,375
Des Moines IA 6,005 3,669 6,432
Chicago IL 124,297 71,030 150,290 53,743 2,806 402,166
Ft. Wayne IN 4,892 1,896 2,793
Indianapolis IN 18,306 8,722 9,693
New Orleans LA 26,433 904 5,692
Boston MA 43,065 21,427 21,533 1,818 428 88,271
Cambridge MA 6,667 3,362 3,403 192 68 13,692
Fall River MA 5,160 4,224 3,453 219 256 13,312
Lowell MA 5,459 3,034 3,783 170 82 12,528
Lynn MA 4,595 4,144 4,764 583 178 14,264
New Bedford MA 3,290 4,177 1,905 626 98 10,096
Somerville MA 4,062 3,757 4,072 176 78 12,145
Springfield MA 4,375 5,167 3,161 555 58 13,316
Worcester MA 6,049 10,532 4,818 230 140 21,769
Baltimore MD 48,030 15,597 33,679 1,763 253 99,322
Kansas City MO 26,954 4,646 20,894 1,470 465 54,429
St. Louis MO 58,845 46,509 24,746 9,159 1,068 140,327
Bayonne NJ 3,717 1,184 2,552
Camden NJ 6,895 5,517 4,707
Elizabeth NJ 5,139 1,900 3,953
Jersey City NJ 21,069 4,070 11,986
Newark NJ 14,031 10,780 19,721
Paterson NJ 7,437 3,007 7,223
Trenton NJ 5,146 3,898 4,753
Buffalo NY 26,192 14,433 20,769
New York City NY 312,426 126,582 188,896 33,239 2,730 663,873
Rochester NY 13,430 12,230 11,102 2,593 636 39,991
Cincinnati OH 31,221 30,588 9,970 6,520 401 78,700
Allentown PA 4,627 1,224 3,475 686 59 10,071
Erie PA 3,407 2,378 1,898 1,464 140 9,287
Philadelphia PA 66,308 91,944 82,963 9,784 691 251,690
Pittsburgh PA 17,352 14,658 25,394 8,498 534 66,436
Reading PA 6,130 1,657 6,719 2,800 83 17,389
Scranton PA 6,193 1,817 7,971 564 214 16,759
Wilkes-Barre PA 2,905 1,178 3,951 219 47 8,300
Salt Lake City UT 7,488 8,964 6,587 2,498
Norfolk VA 3,539 195 451 33 10 4,228
Richmond VA 5,636 405 483 91 12 6,627
Milwaukee WI 24,501 15,092 5,127 17,708 511 62,939

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Though he had become President upon the William McKinley assassination in 1901, only eight months of McKinley's term had elapsed. Thus, Roosevelt had served nearly a full eight years, effectively two full terms.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Voter Turnout in Presidential Elections". The American Presidency Project. UC Santa Barbara.
  2. ^ Morris, Edmund. Colonel Roosevelt. New York: Random House Trade Paperbacks. pp. 215, 646.
  3. ^ Morris, Edmund. Colonel Roosevelt. New York: Random House Trade Paperbacks. pp. 215, 646.
  4. ^ Coletta, Presidency of William Howard Taft ch 3
  5. ^ G. M. Fisk, "The Payne-Aldrich Tariff" Political Science Quarterly, (1910). 25(1), 35-39. doi:10.2307/2141008
  6. ^ Stanley D. Solvick, "William Howard Taft and the Payne-Aldrich Tariff." Mississippi Valley Historical Review 50.3 (1963): 424-442 online.
  7. ^ Anderson (1973), p.79
  8. ^ Schweikart and Allen, p. 491.
  9. ^ O'Mara, Margaret. Pivotal Tuesdays. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 32.
  10. ^ Schantz, Harvey L. American Presidential Elections. Albany: State University of New York Press. p. 169.
  11. ^ Campbell, James E. The Presidential Pulse of Congressional Elections. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky. p. 261.
  12. ^ Roosevelt, Theodore (January 24, 1911). "Letter from Theodore Roosevelt to William Allen White". Letter to William Allen White. Retrieved October 12, 2020.
  13. ^ O'Mara, Margaret. Pivotal Tuesdays. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. pp. 35–37.
  14. ^ "History, Travel, Arts, Science, People, Places | Smithsonian". Smithsonianmag.com. Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  15. ^ O'Mara, Margaret. Pivotal Tuesdays. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. pp. 43–44.
  16. ^ "Roosevelt, Beaten, to Bolt Today; Gives the Word in Early Morning; Taft's Nomination Seems Assured". New York Times. June 20, 1912. Retrieved October 12, 2020.
  17. ^ "Taft Victory in the First Clash; Root Chosen Chairman, 558 to 502". New York Times. June 19, 1912. Retrieved October 12, 2020.
  18. ^ O'Mara, Margaret. Pivotal Tuesdays. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 44.
  19. ^ "Taft Nominee; Sherman His Running Mate". Chicago Tribune. June 23, 1912. Retrieved October 12, 2020.(subscription required)
  20. ^ a b O'Laughlin, John (June 23, 1912). "Roosevelt Is Named Leader Of New Party". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved October 12, 2020.(subscription required)
  21. ^ Henry F. Pringle, The Life and Times of William Howard Taft (1939) 2:818, 832, 834,
  22. ^ "Taft Is Nominated On First Ballot". Santa Cruz News. Santa Cruz, CA. June 22, 1912. Retrieved January 7, 2018.
  23. ^ "Taft Wins With 561". The Courier. Harrisburg, PA. June 23, 1912. Retrieved January 7, 2018.
  24. ^ Pietrusza, David (2007). 1920: The Year of the Six Presidents. New York: Carroll & Graf. ISBN 978-0-7867-1622-7.
  25. ^ Ira Kipnis, The American Socialist Movement, 1897–1912 1952.
  26. ^ Theodore Roosevelt Association. "The New Nationalism." The New Nationalism - Theodore Roosevelt Association. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Apr. 2017.
  27. ^ Gerard Helferich, Theodore Roosevelt and the Assassin: Madness, Vengeance, and the Campaign of 1912 (2013)
  28. ^ Lewis Gould, Four Hats in the Ring: The 1912 Election and the Birth of Modern American Politics (2008) p 171.
  29. ^ Remey, Oliver E.; Cochems, Henry F.; Bloodgood, Wheeler P. (1912). The Attempted Assassination of Ex-President Theodore Roosevelt. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: The Progressive Publishing Company. p. 192.
  30. ^ "Medical History of American Presidents". Doctor Zebra. Retrieved September 14, 2010.
  31. ^ "Excerpt", Detroit Free Press, History buff.
  32. ^ "It Takes More Than That to Kill a Bull Moose: The Leader and The Cause". Theodore Roosevelt Association. Retrieved October 14, 2015.
  33. ^ "Roosevelt Timeline". Theodore Roosevelt. Retrieved September 14, 2010.
  34. ^ Timeline of Theodore Roosevelt's Life by the Theodore Roosevelt Association at www.theodoreroosevelt.org
  35. ^ "WILSON STARTS ON A TOUR.: Will Not Touch on Third Party's Programme in Speeches." New York Times Oct 17. 1912, p. 10.
  36. ^ Morris, Edmund. Colonel Roosevelt. New York: Random House Trade Paperbacks. pp. 250–251.
  37. ^ a b The Presidential Vote, 1896–1932, Edgar E. Robinson, pg. 14
  38. ^ a b c The Presidential Vote, 1896–1932, Edgar E. Robinson, pg. 15
  39. ^ The Presidential Vote, 1896–1932, Edgar E. Robinson, pg. 17
  40. ^ Sullivan, Robert David; ‘How the Red and Blue Map Evolved Over the Past Century’; America Magazine in The National Catholic Review; June 29, 2016

Further reading[edit]

  • Anders, O. Fritiof. "The Swedish-American Press in the Election of 1912" Swedish Pioneer Historical Quarterly (1963) 14#3 pp 103–126
  • Broderick, Francis L. Progressivism at risk: Electing a president in 1912 (Praeger, 1989).
  • Chace, James (2004). 1912: Wilson, Roosevelt, Taft, and Debs—The Election That Changed the Country. New York: Simon and Schuster. ISBN 0-7432-0394-1.
  • Cooper, John Milton, Jr. (1983). The Warrior and the Priest: Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt. Cambridge: Belknap Press. ISBN 0-674-94751-7.
  • Cowan, Geoffrey. Let the People Rule: Theodore Roosevelt and the Birth of the Presidential Primary (2016).
  • Delahaye, Claire. "The New Nationalism and Progressive Issues: The Break with Taft and the 1912 Campaign," in Serge Ricard, ed., A Companion to Theodore Roosevelt (2011) pp 452–67. online
  • DeWitt, Benjamin P. The Progressive Movement: A Non-Partisan, Comprehensive Discussion of Current Tendencies in American Politics. (1915).
  • Flehinger, Brett. The 1912 Election and the Power of Progressivism: A Brief History with Documents (Bedford/St. Martin's, 2003).
  • Gable, John A. The Bullmoose Years: Theodore Roosevelt and the Progressive Party. (Kennikat Press, 1978).
  • Gould, Lewis L. Four hats in the ring: The 1912 election and the birth of modern American politics (UP of Kansas, 2008).
  • Hahn, Harlan. "The Republican Party Convention of 1912 and the Role of Herbert S. Hadley in National Politics." Missouri Historical Review 59.4 (1965): 407-423. Taft was willing to compromise with Missouri Governor Herbert S. Hadley as presidential nominee; TR said no.
  • Jensen, Richard. "Theodore Roosevelt" in Encyclopedia of Third Parties. (ME Sharpe, 2000). pp 702–707.
  • Kipnis, Ira (1952). The American Socialist Movement, 1897–1912. New York: Columbia University Press.
  • Kraig, Robert Alexander. "The 1912 Election and the Rhetorical Foundations of the Liberal State." Rhetoric and Public Affairs (2000): 363–395. in JSTOR
  • Link, Arthur S. (1956). Wilson: Volume 1, The Road to the White House.
  • Milkis, Sidney M., and Daniel J. Tichenor. "'Direct Democracy' and Social Justice: The Progressive Party Campaign of 1912." Studies in American Political Development 8#2 (1994): 282-340. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0898588X00001267
  • Milkis, Sidney M. Theodore Roosevelt, the Progressive Party, and the Transformation of American Democracy. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2009.
  • Morgan, H. Wayne (1962). Eugene V. Debs: Socialist for President. Syracuse University Press.
  • Mowry, George E. (1946). Theodore Roosevelt and the Progressive Movement. Madison: Wisconsin University Press. online
  • Mowry, George E. "The Election of 1912" in Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., and Fred L Israel, eds., History of American Presidential Elections: 1789-1968 (1971) 3: 2135-2427. online
  • Mowry, George E. The Era of Theodore Roosevelt and the Birth of Modern America. (Harper and Row, 1962) online.
  • O'Mara, Margaret. Pivotal Tuesdays: Four Elections That Shaped the Twentieth Century (2015), compares 1912, 1932, 1968, 1992 in terms of social, economic, and political history
  • Painter, Carl, "The Progressive Party In Indiana," Indiana Magazine of History, 16#3 (1920), pp. 173–283. In JSTOR
  • Pinchot, Amos. History of the Progressive Party, 1912–1916. Introduction by Helene Maxwell Hooker. (New York University Press, 1958).
  • Sarasohn, David. The Party of Reform: Democrats in the Progressive Era (UP of Mississippi, 1989), pp 119–154.
  • Schambra, William. "The Election of 1912 and the Origins of Constitutional Conservatism." in Toward an American Conservatism (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013). 95-119.
  • Selmi, Patrick. "Jane Addams and the Progressive Party Campaign for President in 1912." Journal of Progressive Human Services 22.2 (2011): 160–190. https://doi.org/10.1080/10428232.2010.540705
  • Startt, James D. "Wilson's Election Campaign of 1912 and the Press." in Woodrow Wilson and the Press: Prelude to the Presidency (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004) pp. 197–228.
  • Warner, Robert M. "Chase S. Osborn and the Presidential Campaign of 1912." Mississippi Valley Historical Review 46.1 (1959): 19-45. online
  • Wilensky, Norman N. (1965). Conservatives in the Progressive Era: The Taft Republicans of 1912. Gainesville: University of Florida Press.

Primary sources[edit]

  • Bryan, William Jennings. A Tale of Two Conventions: Being an Account of the Republican and Democratic National Conventions of June, 1912, with an Outline of the Progressive National Convention of August in the Same Year (Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1912). online
  • Chester, Edward W A guide to political platforms (1977) online
  • Pinchot, Amos. What's the Matter with America: The Meaning of the Progressive Movement and the Rise of the New Party. (Amos Pinchot, 1912).
  • Roosevelt, Theodore. Theodore Roosevelt's Confession of Faith Before the Progressive National Convention, August 6, 1912 (Progressive Party, 1912) online.
  • Roosevelt, Theodore. Bull Moose on the Stump: The 1912 Campaign Speeches of Theodore Roosevelt Ed. Lewis L. Gould. (UP of Kansas, 2008).
  • Wilson, Woodrow (1956). John Wells Davidson (ed.). A Crossroads of Freedom, the 1912 Campaign Speeches.
  • Porter, Kirk H. and Donald Bruce Johnson, eds. National party platforms, 1840-1964 (1965) online 1840-1956

External links[edit]