1¼ pages, 4to (8 7/8 x 7 in.), White House stationery." />
9 October 2002
TAFT, William H. (1857-1930), President. Typed letter signed ("Wm. H. Taft"), to General Felix Agnus, Washington, 29 February 1912. 1¼ pages, 4to (8 7/8 x 7 in.), White House stationery.
TAFT ON THE CONTEST WITH ROOSEVELT IN 1912: "THE QUESTION OF HIS NOMINATION OR MINE IS A VERY CRITICAL ONE IN THE HISTORY OF THE COUNTRY"
A candid letter in which Taft expresses concern about a Roosevelt challenge for the Republican nomination of 1912 and its political impact. When Roosevelt returned from his safari in Africa, he was outraged that his hand-picked successor, Taft, had departed from many of the policies established during his administration. Roosevelt decided to challenge Taft's renomination and seek the Republican ticket for himself. Taft assures General Agnus: "I believe I represent a safer and saner view of our government and its Constitution than does Theodore Roosevelt, and whether beaten or not I mean to continue to labor in the vineyard of those principles".
Taft has every intention of accepting Roosevelt's challenge: "Since the Columbus speech of Colonel Roosevelt, it has been more and more impressed upon me that the question of his nomination or mine is a very critical one in the history of our country. If I am nominated, I shall have to take my stand as the representative of the conservative, sober, second thought of the people of the United States, and my opponent will be a radical. If Colonel Roosevelt is nominated, he will out-radical the Democrats, and it will be a race of radicalism; and where the conservative men of the country will go, very few people can tell"
Taft's fears were justified, for when Roosevelt lost the nomination to Taft at the Republican Convention, he bolted the Party and ran on the Progressive Party ticket. The division in Republican ranks assured that Democrat Wilson would win the election.
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