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From dKosopedia

1911 1912 1913

American Politics Year in Review

In a battle that was to shape the modern Republican Party, incumbent William Howard Taft defeated former President Theodore Roosevelt for the party's presidential nomination. Roosevelt then ran as the Progressive Party's candidate, leading many economic reformers out of the party; this third-party candidacy actually finished second in the general election, behind Woodrow Wilson, the Democratic winner.

Roosevelt was in some ways the precursor to the early neo-conservative movement, when its members were still in the Democratic Party. Roosevelt, like the 1970s neo-conservatives, combined an idealization of military virtues with a strong belief that government should provide protection for workers against excesses of corporate power. He was a path breaker in that he was the first President to be identified with such economic reforms.

Opposed to his economics, and also, to some degree, to his imperialism, was Taft, his former vice-president. Taft came from the pro-big-business wing of the party, a wing which on the national stage had generally been represented by Taft's fellow Ohioans, such as Marcus Alonzo Hanna and William McKinley. The 1912 battle for the nomination solidified the Ohioans' grip on the party.

The Taft wing's pro-big-business slant has persisted to this day. Their isolationism lasted a generation, but was interrupted by World War II and ended with the development of the military-industrial complex. (That phenomenon -- the creation of a large permanent military that buys its weapons and other necessities from private industry -- made American imperialism more profitable for the party's industrial backers than it had been before.) These Taft Republicans are one of the two major components of the current Republican Party, comparable in significance to social reactionaries who became alarmed at changes in society in the 1960s and 1970s.



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This page was last modified 13:16, 27 April 2007 by dKosopedia user BartFraden. Based on work by Chad Lupkes and Dvd Avins and dKosopedia user(s) Briilsekt, DRolfe, Ikswazi af Fahr and Jumbo. Content is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.

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