Tale of Two Progressives

The Presidential election of 1912 featured… two Progressive candidates.  Woodrow Wilson, the Governor of New Jersey, represented the new spirit of reform and change sweeping the Democratic party.  Former President Theodore Roosevelt was mounting a third party challenge, as his own Republican party continued its shift to the right.  Both candidates supported business reform, child labor laws, and union rights- strong Progressive platforms by both parties made them seem indistinguishable…who was the true Progressive?

SuffrageCartoon1

Women’s suffrage was the decisive issue… Roosevelt and the Progressive(Bull Moose) Party openly declared support for the suffrage amendment, “We pledge our party and its candidates to support loyally and work for the women’s suffrage constitutional amendment at all stages.”    Wilson and the Democrats were lukewarm, at best,  to the idea of national action on Women’s rights.  Roosevelt lost the popular election  by roughly 2.1 million votes.  Could women have made up the difference?  Wilson would not publicly support women’s suffrage until 1918.

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