The short-lived Progressive Party was a splinter group of Republicans that broke away in 1912. Also known as the Bull Moose Party, these former Republicans objected to the nomination of William Howard Taft as that party’s nominee for President. In turn, Progressives nominated the popular Theodore Roosevelt. The Progressives existed as a formal political party until 1916.
The Bull Moose Party
Roosevelt had retired from politics in 1909 and embarked on an African hunting trip. Roosevelt, who had been President from 1901 to 1909, announced his intention to run again as a Republican in 1912. He claimed that Taft, the incumbent, was too conservative. Taft secured the Republican nomination at the national convention in Chicago, causing Roosevelt to walk out in protest. Republicans who supported Roosevelt formed the Progressive Party. Some affectionately referred to the organization as the Bull Moose Party in honor of its nominee. Asked about his health, Roosevelt had told reporters that he felt as strong as a bull moose.
The New Nationalism was the label for the 1912 Progressive Party platform. Roosevelt wanted an active federal government that initiated legislation to regulate corporations and institute a minimum wage for women workers. Woodrow Wilson, the Democrat, won the election, with 435 electoral votes. Roosevelt’s Bull Moose Party walked away with 88 electoral votes, embarrassing Taft, the Republican, who could only garner eight votes.
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