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Teddys Third Term

1912 General Election

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In 1908 Theodore Rooselvelt did not run for President fulfilling a pledge he had made to the American people to not seek a third term. Instead he chose Secretary of War William Howard Taft to be his successor and who would defeat William Jennings Bryan. Despite this, relations between the two began declining as early Election Day when Taft wounded Roosevelt's ego for suggesting that he should share credit with Taft brother Charlie for his victory over Jennings. Roosevelt would be further alienated when Taft, intent on becoming his own man, did not consult him about cabinet appointments. Roosevelt's dissatisfaction with Taft would grow further and cracks started forming in the Republican Party with the passage of the Payne–Aldrich Tariff which pleased the conservative wing of the party and angered the progressive Republicans.

There were hopes that the rift forming in the party would begin to heal following a June 1910 meeting at the White House between the former and current presidents with Roosevelt expressing optimism about the Taft Administration. These hopes however would be dashed on August 31st when Roosevelt gave a speech in Osawatomie, Kansas and marked his public break with Taft and the conservative Republicans in which he outlined his progressive philosophy and the New Nationalist platform which included an eight hour work day, women's suffrage, strict limits and disclosure requirements on political campaign contributions, social insurance to provide for the elderly, the unemployed, and the disabled among other things. The split in the Republican Party would see many progressive votes go to third party candidates and so gave the Democrats control of the House for the first time since the 1890s. The defeats suffered in the 1910 election was viewed by the Republican progressives as a compelling argument for the complete reorganization of the party in 1911. Senator Robert M. La Follette of Wisconsin joined with William White, Gifford Pinchot, and California Governor Hiram Johnson to create the National Progressive Republican League with their objectives being to defeat the power of political bosses at the state level and to replace Taft at the national level.

Rooselvet in 1911 would continually and strongly criticize Taft and various policies with the break between the two men becoming final after the Justice Department filed an antitrust lawsuit against US Steel in September 1911 which Roosevelt personally found this very humiliating as had he personally approved of an acquisition that the Justice Department was now challenging. Despite this at this time Roosevelt was still uninterested in running in 1912 against Taft, preferring instead to run in 1916 against whichever Democrat had defeated Taft.
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A Punch cartoon by Leonard Raven-Hill, depicting the perceived aggression between Taft and Roosevelt.

By January 1912, Roosevelt however had changed his mind about running in 1912 and declared "if the people make a draft on me I shall not decline to serve". By February Roosevelt had begun to envision himself as the savior of the Republican Party from defeat in the upcoming presidential election and announced in Boston, "I will accept the nomination for president if it is tendered to me. I hope that so far as possible the people may be given the chance through direct primaries to express who shall be the nominee." The 1912 primaries saw the first extensive use of the presidential primary, one of the achievements of the progressive movement. The Republican primaries in New York, Indiana, Michigan, Kentucky and Massachusetts went for Taft as did the ones in the South, where party regulars dominated. Meanwhile, Roosevelt won in Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota, California, Maryland and Pennsylvania with Roosevelt also winning Taft's home state of Ohio. These primaries, while showing Roosevelt's continuing popularity with the electorate, were not the deciding factor of the Republican primaries.

The final credentials of the state delegates at the national convention were determined by the national committee, which was controlled by the party leaders, headed by the incumbent president with Roosevelt expressing doubt about his prospects for victory. These fears proved to be correct as the the credentials committee awarded almost all contested delegates to Taft with the African-American delegates from the South playing a key role as they voted heavily for Taft and put him over the top with Taft winning the nomination on the first ballot. Following this Rooselvelt would leave the Republican Party and with key allies such as Pinchot, Albert Beveridge would establish the Progressive Party, structuring it as a permanent organization that would field tickets at the presidential and state level. At the first ever Progressive National Convention on August 5th, Roosevelt with Hiram Johnson as his Vice Presidential pick easily won all 2000 delegates securing their status as the Progressive ticket for the general election. The Democrats at their convention in Baltimore would select after 46 ballots, Governor Woodrow Wilson of New Jersey as their presidential candidate and Indiana Governor as their Vice President candidate.

Finally at the Socialist Party convention Eugene V. Debs would easily win his party's nomination for the fourth time and with him not even attending. Roosevelt after the Progressive convention he would begin conducting a national campaign for the Progressive Party though did not expect to win in November against Wilson who had added a number of progressive positions to his "The New Freedom" policy after Roosevelt secured his new party's nomination. For the Socialists their candidate Debs had no doubt he was going to lose but hoped to see the elections show growth of support for Socialism among the American people. Then there was President Taft for the Republicans knowing he was going to lose would lead a far less energetic campaign than Wilson or Roosevelt while the Republic Party now firmly under the control of the conservatives with the exodus of progressive to Roosevelt new party sought to portray Roosevelt as a dangerous radical to help limit the damage from the splitting of Republican vote. There were two notable events during the election with the first being the attempted assinantion of Theodore Rooselvelt during a campaign stop in Milwaukee on October 14 where John Flammang Schrank, a saloonkeeper from New York, shot Roosevelt in the chest who believed that the ghost of assassinated president William McKinley had told him to kill Roosevelt.
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Theodore Roosevelt's medical x-ray on October 14, 1912, after the assassination attempt, showing the bullet that would remain inside his body for the rest of his life

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 while the shooter was immediately disarmed and captured. There was a strong possibility that Schrank would have been lynched right there had Roosevelt not called for him to be unharmed and showed the crowd that he was fine while having the police escort Schrank away and to ensure no violence was used against him. Following this he received suggestions that he go to a hospital due to having just been shot but waved off such concerns and gave a 90 minute speech and began it with "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." Only once the speech was concluded did he agree to go to a hospital. Both Wilson and Taft would suspend their campaigns following this and only Roosevelt recovered and resumed his campaign.

Soon after the incident when asked by a reporter if the shooting would affect his election campaign, he responded with "I'm fit as a bull moose", which inspired the party's emblem and the Progressive Party nickname as the Bull Moose Party. Despite this declaration of how fit he was Roosevelt would only give two more speeches before the election in November. The other notable event during the campaigning was the death of Vice President James S. Sherman on October 31st leaving Taft without a running running mate days before the election though Sherman place on the Republican ticket would be hastily replaced by Nicholas M. Butler, president of Columbia University. Finally November 5th came and with it a shock for the nation as Wilson had lost to Roosevelt and by a decisive amount.[1] The expectation had been for Wilson to easily win with the Republican vote split but instead Roosevelt had managed to secure a super majority of Republican voters along with somehow a good portion of the Democrat vote outside of the South.

Roosevelt had even somehow managed to sway most Socialists to vote for him. When all votes were counted the final tally was 8,922,721 votes and 374 electoral votes for Roosevelt, an even greater victory than his 1904 reelection. In second place was Wilson with 5,296,284 votes and 157 electoral votes while in a dismal third place was Taft with only 486,242 votes, a far worse result than even the most plausible worst case scenarios. Then there was Debs in fourth who had managed in 1908 had won 420,852 votes had only managed for this election a far smaller 118,332. The Progressives victory was not only limited to the Presidency as they had managed to win five seats in the Senate, 49 seats in the House and finally the Governor races of Colorado, Masschuets and Michigan which gave their party control of five governorships.[2] The Democrats despite not gaining the Senate or the Presidency consoled themselves with the fact that they had increased the numbers of seats they held in the House of Representatives from 229 to 276. As the morning of November 6th began, the American people wondered what Theodore Roosevelt's third term as President would bring for the nation.

………………..

[1] An ASB influences quite a few people to vote for Teddy instead and giving him a third term.

[2] Similar to above an ASB makes people switch their vote from one of the other three parties to the Progressive candidate in fifty seven races.
 

Aaron Fox

SB's Minor Junker Descendant and Hunter of Nazis
Author
Well, for one, Teddy wasn't for Britain. If anything, he didn't like Britain so that means Britain has less pull on the US from the get-go... which means that Germany might get its white peace in late 1916/early 1917 because the Entente was basically out of emergency funds to fun WW1. In addition, Teddy wouldn't like Britain's blockade of Germany and (de facto) neutral nations on the continent...
 

Blade4

Apathetic Marine
Just having a third party that actually matters would shake the fuck up the whole American political landscape. Also America just staying completely out of the shit show that is WW1 and not supporting the British could utterly change everything. German was iirc actually practically a second language up till we ended up fighting them and a white peace where Germany is not humiliated could very well prevent the Nazis from getting anywhere which could derail WW2 or alter it to unrecognizable.
 

Aaron Fox

SB's Minor Junker Descendant and Hunter of Nazis
Author
Just having a third party that actually matters would shake the fuck up the whole American political landscape. Also America just staying completely out of the shit show that is WW1 and not supporting the British could utterly change everything. German was iirc actually practically a second language up till we ended up fighting them and a white peace where Germany is not humiliated could very well prevent the Nazis from getting anywhere which could derail WW2 or alter it to unrecognizable.
Here's the thing, with France it's going to have a revolution, again, because the government lost twice against the Germans. Remember, they had revenge as a cornerstone of their government philosophy since Napoleon the Third got dethroned after Franco-Prussia.

I would see either a revenge-hungry communist France or a Fascist France.

Then you get Britain which, to be honest, isn't going to take the entire situation well either. Depending on how things go, you either accelerate the current situation in Britain (aka the other two branches of government may have power on paper, but in reality don't because the House of Commons took it all) or have Britain facing 'fun times' internally. Might even go fascist itself if things go poorly.
 

Blade4

Apathetic Marine
Here's the thing, with France it's going to have a revolution, again, because the government lost twice against the Germans. Remember, they had revenge as a cornerstone of their government philosophy since Napoleon the Third got dethroned after Franco-Prussia.
Well thing is will either nation be in a position to fight. The war could leave all three devastated or it could end with a triumphant Germany. Or perhaps Germany still is forced into a humiliating peace if it just keeps dragging and the other powers dont break first? This could go so many ways and most might be even uglier as the great nations of europe basically go battletech succession wars on each other refusing to stop the insanity until one or more simply breaks.
 

Aaron Fox

SB's Minor Junker Descendant and Hunter of Nazis
Author
Well thing is will either nation be in a position to fight. The war could leave all three devastated or it could end with a triumphant Germany. Or perhaps Germany still is forced into a humiliating peace if it just keeps dragging and the other powers dont break first? This could go so many ways and most might be even uglier as the great nations of europe basically go battletech succession wars on each other refusing to stop the insanity until one or more simply breaks.
Here's the thing, economically, the two nations were literally at their end. If the war didn't end there and they didn't have the US's stupid amounts of financial resources at their call, they would have waved the white flag in 1916, 1917 at the latest. It also didn't help that the British Admiralty ensured the US would be on their side, given that they've outright admitted that they've been using RMS ships as illegal war material freighters, the Lusitania being one of them (the Germans actually burned one of their contacts within Britain to publish that the Lusitania was carrying war material, and thus -as prescribed by the rules of war- made it a legitimate target... problem was that the papers buried that warning).
 

Blade4

Apathetic Marine
Then it comes down to how things peter out. If lucky its just a miserable white peace. More likely it will still set the stage for a later conflict but things are again so different we cant say how it goes. Hell it might be a russian/german war as the soviets fear a very strong power right on their front yard with the bitter allies jumping in.
 
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