Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Today -100: August 7, 1912: Of bull moosers, burning houses, and bears


Roosevelt gives a speech or, as he insists on calling it, his confession of faith, to the Bull Moose convention (this may be the first time a presidential candidate of any party has given a speech at a party convention). Excerpt: “the fundamental concern of the privileged interests is to beat the new party. Some of them would rather beat it with Mr. Wilson; others would rather beat it with Mr. Taft; but the difference between Mr. Wilson and Mr. Taft they consider as trivial, as a mere matter of personal preference.”

He calls for standardized factory and mine inspection; standardized compensation for industrial accidents and death; a ban on the employment of women over forty-eight hours per week; a ban on the seven-day working week; the protective tariff (set “scientifically”); women’s suffrage (“In those conservative States where there is genuine doubt how the women stand on this matter I suggest that it be referred to a vote of the women”); court rulings to be subject to the “final control of the American people as a whole.”

In a supposedly impromptu deviation from the prepared text, TR goes into the whole negro question, saying that the negro delegates to Republican conventions for the last 45 years have been of such a character as reflected discredit on both the Republican Party and the negro race. Which I guess is supposed to justify excluding Southern negro delegates of whatever character from the Progressive convention. He notes that many northern states and even Maryland and West Virginia voluntarily sent black delegates, “because they represent an element of colored men who have won the esteem and respect of their white neighbors,” which is obviously the important thing. And by not forcing negroes on the South, we shall “naturally and spontaneously” see the Southern states do what Maryland and West Virginia did in the, you know, future.

The NYT calls TR’s program “a vast system of State Socialism, a Government of men unrestrained by laws. ... business would be regulated and controlled from Washington... he would teach the weak, the unfortunate, and the unemployed to look to the Government for relief.”

At the trial of suffragists for attempting to burn down the Theatre Royal in Dublin, Gladys Evans says she was encouraged to do so by the words of the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (that is to say, a member of the Cabinet), C.E. Hobhouse, who said that the suffragettes would accomplish nothing until they begin to burn houses.

Robert Taft, son of the president, is given a bear by the Blackfeet Indians.

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