Teddy Roosevelt’s Bully Flag

TR close up

The 1912 presidential election saw three candidates eager to lead America into the second decade of the twentieth century. A former governor from New Jersey, a former two term President and a republican incumbent debated issues of monopolies and implementation of a federal income tax across the nation only to have the victor, 28th President Woodrow Wilson, receive 42% of the popular vote.

Winning less than half the popular vote yet 435 electoral votes, Woodrow Wilson was viewed as the only legitimate southern democrat to run for office and indisputably won the southern United States. His closest competitor ran not for the republicans, but rather a new political party founded on the principles of progressive social reform to benefit the working men and women of the country. The Progressive Party, later nicknamed the Bull Moose Party in reference to comments made by the party’s founder Theodore Roosevelt, was created in 1912 to offer a farther left perspective on social issues including social insurance for the elderly and disabled and the registration of lobbyist to insure political transparency throughout Washington. Roosevelt with support of his newly formed party would win 88 electoral votes including California for a total of 4,119,207 popular votes

TR Battle Flag

A relic of the Bull Moose Party can be found in archives of the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum. Roughly two feet by two feet, a flag donning the grin of Theodore Roosevelt stands testament to a man’s dream of a more progressive America particularly in the workforce. Red in color with a white diamond pattern, the flag was nicknamed a “battle flag” for Roosevelt and would be seen as support rallies and other election events hosted by the progressive party. The flag was purchased by the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library at auction at the Green Valley Auction.

Written by WWPL Brendan Dodson

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