Trisha Shetty (Editor)

1916 Progressive National Convention

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Date(s)  June 7 - June 10
Venue  Chicago Coliseum
City  Chicago, Illinois
Other candidates  none
1916 Progressive National Convention
Presidential nominee  Theodore Roosevelt of New York
Vice Presidential nominee  John M. Parker of Louisiana

Theodore Roosevelt's Progressive Party held its 1916 national convention, in conjunction with the Republican national convention. This was to facilitate a possible reconciliation. Five delegates from each convention met to negotiate.

The Progressives wanted reunification, but with Roosevelt as the Republican presidential nominee, which the Republicans adamantly opposed. Meanwhile, Charles Evans Hughes, a moderate progressive, became the front-runner at the Republican convention, though opposed by many conservatives. The Progressives suggested Hughes as a compromise candidate. Then Roosevelt sent a message proposing conservative Senator Henry Cabot Lodge. The shocked Progressives immediately nominated Roosevelt again, with Louisiana businessman John M. Parker as the Vice Presidential nominee. Parker had run for governor as a Progressive early in 1916. (The Republican Party was deeply unpopular in Louisiana.) Parker got a respectable 37% of the vote. He was the only Progressive to run for governor that year. Others suggested for the Vice-Presidency were California Governor and the 1912 Vice-Presidential nominee Hiram Johnson, and Chairman of the Party Convention Raymond Robins, but both withdrew their names in favor of Parker. However, Roosevelt later telegraphed the convention and declared that he could not accept their nomination and would be endorsing Republican nominee Charles Hughes for the Presidency.

Confusion and collapse

With Roosevelt refusing to be their candidate, the Progressive Party quickly fell into disarray; there was a temporary shout led by former Congressman Victor Murdock of Kansas for a ticket consisting of three-time Democratic nominee William Jennings Bryan and industrialist Henry Ford but it amounted to little.

Some like National Committeeman Harold L. Ickes refused to consider endorsing Hughes, and there was some talk of nominating another for the Presidency in Roosevelt's stead, such as Hiram Johnson or Gifford Pinchot. However those discussed refused to consider the notion, and by this point some leaders like Henry Justin Allen had started to follow Roosevelt's lead and endorsed the Republican ticket, and various state parties such as those in Iowa and Maine began to disband. Finally, when the Progressive Party National Committee met in Chicago on June 26, those in attendance begrudgingly endorsed Hughes; even those like Ickes who had vehemently refused to consider granting an endorsement to Hughes began to recognize that without Roosevelt the party had no electoral staying power. There had been a weak attempt to replace Roosevelt on the ticket with the former Kansas Congressman Victor Murdock, but the motion was defeated 31 to 15.

Most of its members would return to the Republican Party, although a substantial minority supported Wilson for his efforts in keeping the United States out of World War I. Roosevelt had turned down the Progressive nomination for both personal and political reasons; he had become convinced that running for president on a third-party ticket again would merely give the election to the Democrats, a result he was loath to make possible, since he had developed a strong dislike for President Wilson. He also believed Wilson was allowing Germany and other warring nations in Europe to "bully" and intimidate the United States.

The Roosevelt-Parker ticket did manage to get on the ballot in several states.


1916 Progressive National Convention Wikipedia

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