The War of 1912

T.R. failed in his brash bid to regain the White House, but his Bull Moose Party pushed ideas that would animate the century

When Theodore Roosevelt challenged William Howard Taft for the Republican presidential nomination in 1912, few cheered. Enemies accused him of monumental egotism, and most admirers, foreseeing his defeat, were worried that posterity would frown on his quest for an unprecedented third term. But as Roosevelt saw it, he had to involve himself. He had left the White House in 1909 with the expectation that Taft, his good friend and chosen successor, would continue on the progressive course set by the Roosevelt Administration. Instead, Taft had filled his Cabinet with corporate lawyers, bungled a chance to overhaul an antiquated tariff that enriched...

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