The "Bull Moose" Campaign of 1912

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Chapter 30

Wilsonian Progressivism at Home and Abroad



Woodrow Wilson won the governorship of New Jersey waging a reform campaign in which he attacked the predatory trusts and promised to return the state government to the people.


The "Bull Moose" Campaign of 1912

The Democrats chose Woodrow Wilson as their presidential candidate for the election of 1912.  The Democrats saw in Wilson an outstanding reformist leader of whom they felt would beat Republican Taft.  The Democrats had a strong progressive platform that called for stronger antirust laws, banking reform, and tariff reductions.

Theodore Roosevelt ran again in the election as a 3rd party candidate.  It was unsure whether Roosevelt's New Nationalism or Wilson's New Freedom would prevail.  Both men favored a more active government role in economic and social affairs, but they disagreed over specific strategies. 

Roosevelt's New Nationalism campaigned for stronger control of trusts, woman suffrage, and programs of social welfare. 

Wilson's New Freedom favored small enterprise, entrepreneurship, and the free functioning of unregulated and unmonopolized markets.  Democrats shunned the social-welfare programs and supported the fragmentation of trusts.

The campaign cooled down when Roosevelt was shot by a fanatic.  He eventually recovered after suspending campaigning for a couple weeks.


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