United States Elections: Presidential Elections (1908)

Figure 1.--k

The Republican Convention with Roosevelt's backing nominated Taft in 1908. Taft was not a naturally gifted politican. It was no accident that he had risen with judicial and administrative appointments. He disliked political campaigns. He was not a talented public speaker. His speeches were usually well reasoned, but tedious and emotionless. He described the camaign as "one of the most uncomfortable four months of my life." He pledged his loyalty to the Roosevelt progressive program, popular in the West. The Republican Party was badly divided in 1908 between progressives and conservatives, but Taft managed to keep it together. His brother Charles reassured old guard eastern Republicans. William Jennings Bryan, running on the Democratic ticket for a third time, complained that he was having to oppose two candidates, a western progressive Taft and an eastern conservative Taft. Progressives were pleased with Taft's election. "Roosevelt has cut enough hay," they said; "Taft is the man to put it into the barn." Conservatives were delighted to be rid of Roosevelt--the "mad messiah."


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Created: 9:01 AM 2/15/2007
Last updated: 9:01 AM 2/15/2007