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1912 election and progressive reform movement.

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The results of the 1912 election prove that Americans were ready for change and reform across the board. Each candidate offered their own view on how changes should be implemented and which issues needed change, ultimately the voters showed they wanted an end to political corruption and to lessen the social division between classes.

What do you think made this election so different from the elections of years past?

Where do you think weâ??d be if the results of the 1912 election would have gone differently?

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Solution Summary

This article looks at the platforms of the candidates for President in the 1912 election and discusses the "progressive" mood of the voters as revealed by the election results.

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The quick answer to the "change" brought on by the election of 1912 is that traditional party politics took a backseat to the deisires of the governed. Personality, charisma and mud-slinging could not win the day. "New" names for old ideas, and even political parties, did not put a candidate in the Oval Office. Conservative major party platforms were useless. Even the eventual victor needed help from unexpected sources. 1912 was the year that ALL candidates were forced to respond to the voice of reform, then known as the progressive movement.

1) Take a look at the basic platforms and approaches to see how they each wooed the progressive vote:

Woodrow Wilson (Democrat)

Wilson's platform's nickname was "New Freedom," in a battle for modernity with Roosevelt's "New Nationalism." Nobody wins a presidential election with the idea of "Same Old Platform." Even the second Reagan election espoused "newness" while pushng the same trickle-down economic policies in favor of status quo. In 1912, the political word for "new" was "Progressive," which came in more flavors than Baskin & Robbins.

The New Freedom "emphasized business competition and small government."1 Wilson "wanted to rein in federal authority, using it only to sweep away special privilege, release individual energies, and restore competition."2 "For Wilson the vital issue was not a planned economy but a free one. "The history of liberty is the history of the limitations of governmental power....," he said in October 1912. "If America is not to have free enterprise, then she can have freedom of no sort whatever."3

1,2 & 3 are direct quotes from:

Divine, R., Breen, T., et. al. (1987). America Past and Present. Glenview: Scott, Foresman and Company.
This is a college text, and the included quotes are from Wilson himself. ...

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  • NYS teacher certification, City University of New York-Lehman College
  • MA, Ed., University of Phoenix Online
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