It’s not very often that something nearly a hundred years old would be considered a ‘must read’. However, given our current political climate, our various financial, regulatory, and social issues at hand, and the relative dysfunction of either of our two parties to do much about them, it may be time to take a look at this.

In 1912, Teddy Roosevelt lost the Republican nomination for president to incumbent Taft. His response was to form his own Progressive Party. Known as the Bullmoose party, the Progressives lambasted the corruption of the Republicans and the inability to adjust and get anything done in the Democrats (sound familiar?). Keep in mind that Roosevelt at no point changed his political stance. He had been a lifelong Republican and felt that he was indeed running and forming this party as a true Republican.

The Republican party — his Republican party — was not one of conservatives demanding nothing in life ever change and idealizing a mis-remembered yesteryear that never existed nor never can. His party was not one of so called libertarians professing a myth that no government is the only good government. His Republican party, the party that idealized the stand of Lincoln, and drew its roots from the ideals of Jefferson (yes, I said Jefferson), was a party of progress. It was a party that was born amid massive economic and social strife and who made their original stand, albeit a very nationally painful one, forcing the nation to progress its social system which at the time kept millions of people in bondage.

What Roosevelt cedes in his break with his party is that their progress driven purpose had by this time become corrupted by power and money. The connections and siding with business interests had stripped the party of its ability to push the nation forward as needs to occur with time.

Thus, he formed his own breakaway group from supporters within the Republican Party, and this was, for the most part, the birth of American Progressive Politics.

Excepting the few things specific to the era of this election. I believe you’ll find reading the Progressive Party’s actual 1912 platform to be an eerily familiar mix of political ideas found within both parties platforms today:

Official 1912 Progressive Party Platform

One thought

  1. Interesting!

    And without trying to sound like a pedantic snoot, I’d just say that the vast majority of things that I consider to be “must reads” are over 100 years old.

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