Republican insurgents dissatisfied with the conservative administration of President William Howard Taft formed (Jan., 1911) the National Progressive Republican League. Senator Robert M. La Follette was their choice for the Republican presidential nomination in 1912 until former President Theodore Roosevelt, at odds with his old friend Taft for various personal and political reasons, threw his "hat into the ring" (Feb. 24, 1912). The regular Republicans, however, controlled the national convention at Chicago (June) and renominated Taft, whereupon the Roosevelt supporters organized the new Progressive party (the Bull Moose party) and nominated, also at Chicago (August), Roosevelt for President and Hiram W. Johnson for Vice President. The Progressive platform called for the direct election of U.S. Senators, the initiative, referendum, and recall, woman suffrage, reduction of the tariff, and many social reforms. As a result of the split in Republican ranks, Woodrow Wilson, the Democratic candidate, won, but Roosevelt, who received 88 electoral votes and over 4 million popular votes, fared better than Taft. The party maintained its organization until 1916, when, after Roosevelt declined another nomination, most Progressives supported the Republican presidential candidate, Charles Evans Hughes.
See B. P. De Witt, The Progressive Movement (1915, repr. 1968); G. E. Mowry, Theodore Roosevelt and the Progressive Movement (1946, repr. 1960); A. R. E. Pinchot, History of the Progressive Party, 1912–1916, ed. by H. M. Hooker (1958); J. A. Gable, The Bullmoose Years: Theodore Roosevelt and the Progressive Party (1978).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.