1912 tells the story of one of the wildest elections in U.S. history. It is a book full of colorful characters and a tale of a country and world at an early twentieth century crossroads. With four candidates running and the progressive era in full force, the outcome was up in the air throughout the race.

Table of Contents

Prologue: A Night in Milwaukee

October 14, 1912  Eight P.M. Milwaukee, Wisconsin   Pressing flesh had become a fact of life over the last deca... Read Chapter

Getting Started

The United States at the turn of the twentieth century found itself in a position vis a vis the rest of the world few of its founding fat... Read Chapter

The Academic, The Hunter, and the Judge

If Roosevelt’s presence in the campaign of 1912 was unexpected, few parallels exist for a man coming onto the national radar with the s... Read Chapter

From Pullman to Prison

Of the candidates running in 1912, the man with the most experience as an actual candidate for presidential was not Taft or Roosevelt. An... Read Chapter

Commandeering the Great Commoner

Wilson had briefly flirted with the idea of a run for one of New Jersey Senate’s two Senate seats several years after taking the helm a... Read Chapter

Upton and Uncle Joe

When Roosevelt assumed the presidency in September 1901, there had been hope for conservatives in the party that his time in office would... Read Chapter

D.C. And Trenton

Even within the more reactionary Democratic Party, Wilson’s successful run for the governorship was evidence of the growing demand for ... Read Chapter

Trial by Filipino Fire

Wilson, Roosevelt, and Debs all faced their transformative moments-from Kettle Hill to Pullman-induced strikes and jail time to eating cl... Read Chapter


The new president’s backing of the Payne-Aldrich tariff was a forgivable sin. Even given the progressive opposition to it, Roosevelt wo... Read Chapter


Osawatomie, Kansas August 1910   The idea of a collapse in Roosevelt’s relationship with Taft still appeared a thing o... Read Chapter

Cultivating Credentials

  A lot of eyes had looked to see what type of balance Governor Woodrow Wilson would strike between politically expedient centri... Read Chapter

A General Industrial Mashup

An untrained first glance might have pegged Wilson as a better comparison to Taft than to TR. After all, both men had highly limited expe... Read Chapter

Hat in the Ring

While the number of direct primaries had only been a half-dozen before the campaign season got underway, Roosevelt had been able to quick... Read Chapter

The Monstrous System

Eugene Debs would begin his long shot 1912 presidential campaign by not taking for granted where his base of support naturally lay: labor... Read Chapter

The Taft-Buchanan School

The disagreements between Taft and Roosevelt would evolve into the personal sphere as time went on, but they had begun with a difference ... Read Chapter

Taft vs Roosevelt

Things got off to a rocky start for Roosevelt in the primaries. Even before the first one was held in North Dakota on March 19th, Taft ha... Read Chapter

Abandoning the Party

The GOP convention opened in Chicago with indecision in the air. While Roosevelt could claim a two to one lead over Taft in delegates at ... Read Chapter


fDespite Roosevelt’s own break with etiquette, it was still considered unseemly for presidential candidates to show up in person at the... Read Chapter

President Taft and the Demagogues

For as much as Taft would be pigeonholed as the most conservative of the 1912 candidates, some of his own words and actions as president ... Read Chapter

Confession of Faith

The newly formed Progressive Party, broken free from the sort of partisan constraints imposed by Democratic and Republican party dogma an... Read Chapter

Brandeis Pitches In

On the same day Roosevelt gave his “Confession of Faith” to the new organization’s rambunctious delegates, Governor Wilson delivere... Read Chapter

Hitting the Trail

The presidential campaigns of the early twentieth century were not the seemingly endless campaign season of today. The heavy lifting woul... Read Chapter

The Race to the Finish

With less than a month to go until election day, the presidential race had all but boiled down to two men. Taft had faded, likely to a di... Read Chapter

What It All Means

By Election Day TR had traveled over ten thousand miles en route to visiting thirty-four states. 25.1  Although Wilson and Debs had ... Read Chapter

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