Happy Birthday to the Progressive Bull Moose Party

On this day, August 7, in 1912, Theodore Roosevelt was nominated as the Progressive “Bull Moose” Candidate for President of the United States. The Bull Moose party began as a group of Republicans who were fed up with the corruption of the political bosses who were controlling the Republican Party under President William Howard Taft. They also saw that the Republican Party had become too cozy with the big trusts and corporate interests, at great cost to the middle and lower classes. Under Roosevelt’s leadership, the Progressive Bull Moose Party platform called for greater political and economic power for the people, including giving women the right to vote, direct election of U.S. Senators (who were elected by state legislatures at that time), providing a living wage for workers, prohibition of child labor, the eight hour work day, and many other political and economic reforms. Roosevelt well understood the importance of thriving business, but he drew the line when businesses began to exploit the people, or when they became so powerful as to harm competition through unfair practices or monopoly power. He also understood that businesses exist for the betterment of society, not the other way around. And, therefore, he was not opposed to providing some public assistance to Americans in need.

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