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Tuesday, Aug. 6, 1912. Theodore Roosevelt makes a political “confession of faith” in his keynote address to the Progressive national convention that is expected to nominate him for President later this week, The Record reports. Roosevelt will the third former President to attempt to regain the White House as an independent candidate. Martin Van Buren (1837-41), a Democrat, ran on the Free Soil ticket in 1848, while Millard Fillmore (1850-53), a Whig, ran as the American party candidate in 1856. A Republican, Roosevelt became President following William McKinley’s assassination in September 1901 and was elected in his own right in 1904. The U.S. Constitution does not yet prevent a President from seeking a third term. The former President split with the Republicans after failing to unseat incumbent William Howard Taft at the GOP convention in Chicago last June. Roosevelt’s supporters feel that Taft has betrayed Roosevelt’s principles and governed in the interest of corporations rather than in the public interest. The Progressives have returned to Chicago for their convention, where Roosevelt departs from custom by delivering a major speech even before he is nominated. According to tradition, the presumptive nominee should stay away from his party’s convention and await notification of his nomination at his home. President Taft observed this custom by receiving his notification at the White House last week, while Democratic nominee Woodrow Wilson will be notified formally at his residence in Sea Girt, New Jersey, tomorrow. Roosevelt describes his keynote address as a confession of faith submitted to the convention “because I wish you to know just what my deepest convictions are on the great questions of to-day, so that if you choose to make me your standard bearer in the fight you shall make your choice understanding exactly how I feel.” While he promises to step aside should the Progressives now prefer someone else, his nomination is really a foregone conclusion. The Progressive leader believes that neither major party is up for the challenge of the 20th century’s “great economic revolution.” The Democrats lack “common sense,” while the Republicans lack “ethical standards.” The bosses of both parties are basically “corporate lawyers” who may be rivals normally but will join forces “when the dominion of both is threatened by the supremacy of the people of the United States.” Roosevelt expects to be called a Socialist because he believes in “a larger use of the governmental power to help remedy industrial wrongs,” but “As a matter of fact, the propositions I make constitute neither anarchy nor Socialism, but, on the contrary, a corrective for Socialism and an antidote to anarchy.”

This Day in 1912 in The Record: Aug. 6, 1912

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