This article written by Theodore Roosevelt during his campaign for a third presidential term outlines his belief in the Progressive Party and why it is the ideal political party for the American public, showing the importance of candidates appealing to the large interests of the public. He begins the article by stating, “the time is ripe for a genuine Progressive movement.” (Roosevelt 944). In doing so, he immediately sets his tone and intention of speaking directly to the American people.
Theodore Roosevelt’s initial two terms helped shape the growing role of media and public opinion in presidential campaigning, and the nation’s approval of the president became very important to whoever held the office. TR’s love for the spotlight helped cement these changes in American politics. Journalist William Wolff Smith wrote, “no president ever took the public into his confidence or made his appeal to the public through the press as does President Roosevelt” (Greenberg 35).
In campaigning for a third term, TR continued to appeal to the public. For example, this article outlining his beliefs in the Progressive Party constantly groups the former president with the general public, using “we” to discuss the state of the nation economically, ethically, socially, and internationally.
The article discusses the Progressive Party’s platforms and how they fit into the modern American people’s ideas. TR discusses the need for women’s suffrage, the corruption of corporate America, and the necessity of ruling by the people.
He argues for regulations in the workplace and investigations in corporations. The article constantly returns to the point of a ruling by the people, showing the desire of the former president to appeal to the American public and give them a voice in the nation’s political scene. He explains that by ruling for the people’s rights, states’ rights will follow, as will national rights. With the people’s desires ruling, the nation will run smoothly.
Unfortunately for TR, in the creation and strength of the Progressive Party, he divided the Republican Party, allowing Woodrow Wilson to win the election. TR’s supporters were rabidly against Taft, mocking him with verses such as “the boy that you left to tend the sheep / is under the haystack fast asleep” (Leuchtenburg 64).
In publishing this article during campaigning, TR shows the changing political media scene. It is the beginning of openly campaigning directly to the public and working to appeal to the interests they hold dear, rather than simply telling them what is the correct course of action.