Bluestocking Journal

Real history, through the eyes of a fictional person

Tag: progressives

Thursday, November 7, 1912

An unknown negro shot “Red Ben” Barnett in the arm at Woody Mathews’ pool room on Market street in Champaign. “Red Ben” is a notorious bootlegger who was recently ordered to leave the Twin Cities and never return.

The Progressive party intends to put up candidates in every district for the 1914 election, when a new house of representatives will be elected. Said Colonel Roosevelt, “The Progressive party has superseded the Republican party. All we need to do is to keep steadily on with the fight and we will win.” Fight, fight, fight. Reading all of this news just makes it clear to me that politics is too important to be left in the hands of the men.

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Wednesday, November 6, 1912

Woodrow Wilson will be our next president, and it looks as though the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives will go from 64 to 100; the Senate will probably go from a Republican majority of seven to a Democratic majority of one. Theodore Roosevelt said, “The American people by a great plurality have decided in favor of Mr. Wilson and the Democratic party. Like all other good citizens I accept the result with entire good humor and contentment.” The progressives did far better than the republicans overall. Governor Wilson said a great many things, but the odd bit that struck me was this: “I got up on a chair so that you could not see the patch upon my head.”

The democratic landslide was felt here as well. Congressman McKinley’s re-election bid was defeated by 800. “Boyd Blain, republican candidate for circuit clerk, alone survives the slaughter.” The unofficial chart of local district votes shows the progressives to be very strong. Roosevelt won in Illinois by over 85,000 votes. A straw vote at my school and and Leal School likewise went badly for Taft, although McKinley did far better.

An intoxicated man fired a shotgun at another man at the polling booth at the Collins store on Hill street. His first shot missed, but his sister managed to disarm him before he could get off another shot.

And to wrap up today’s election journal entry, I feel I must paste in this clothing shop advertisement:

1912 Election Resources

The Library of Congress has an extensive collection of materials relating to the presidential election of 1912, and its resource guide also provides links to external websites. Listen to sound recordings of Taft, Wilson, and Roosevelt giving campaign speeches. Check out some sheet music from the election. You’ve already made up your mind about the 2012 candidates anyway.

Also I am linking the full text of the Republican campaign text-book (1912) here because I don’t know where else to put it, but I don’t want to lose it.

Friday, October 25, 1912

“President Taft will speak on national political issues at the court house in Urbana tonight. His address will be given in conjunction with that of Hon. John J. Brown of Vandalia. The latter will be here in person, but the president will not. His speech will be communicated by means of phonographic records, received today by the local republican committee.” Three colored women, sent by the National Progressive Bureau, will speak and sing at progressive headquarters in Champaign on Saturday night.

A mass meeting of university students will be held in the auditorium tonight to attempt to save football. It has been arranged by students, and every student will be asked to pledge not to riot. “It is believed that the orgie at the Walker opera house, Saturday night, struck the game a death blow and that nothing but an heroic effort will revive it.”

Wednesday, October 23, 1912

After the first day’s investigation of the student riot at the Walker opera house, the university has expelled two students. The comedy company that was playing at the Walker that night is suing the city of Champaign. “Local authorities look upon the matter pretty much as a joke and the suits are regarded as farces. Chief of Police Keller said that the police, although practically rendered powerless, did all in their power.”

A Quincy man was arrested by postal authorities after having confessed to an unusual method of counterfeiting. He pasted together the unmarked parts of canceled stamps so as to make a new stamp. And of the many suicides reported in the “Illinois News by Telegraph” column, the suicide of Alfred J. Kilty, a Michigan furniture upholsterer, stood out. Found dying of poison in a Decatur cemetery, he had left a note saying it was “nobody’s business why he had attempted suicide and that he had fixed everything to suit himself.”

Finally, here is another local advertisement that references the current political scene:

Tuesday, October 22, 1912

The Urbana progressives have this to say today: “Fellow voters, in the coming election let us forget our old party traditions that made us vote for Satan himself if he bore the right party label. Let us be men for once and all and show our manhood and good common sense by casting our ballot for Theodore [Roosevelt], the greatest man now living.” Col. Roosevelt indeed seems like a great man, but is that the quality that makes a good president? If I were able to cast a vote, I would still be making up my mind about it all. I suppose I would vote based on the issue that seemed to me most important, which now is woman suffrage … and of course that wouldn’t be an issue if I were allowed to vote!

An aged Urbana man named Charles Judd went to Danville on Sunday. He attempted to board an I.T.S. car to return home, but the conductor would not let him on, owing to his intoxicated condition. Mr. Judd angrily hurled a whiskey bottle at the conductor. “Then he ran, and, although an old man, gave two policemen a good race around the public square.” He is now being held on a charge of assault.

The 1912 Presidential Election

The presidential election of 1912 was significant because it included a viable third party. Professor Sidney Milkis, author of Theodore Roosevelt, the Progressive Party, and the Transformation of American Democracy, joins NPR host Robert Siegel for a discussion on this important centennial. Highlights include recorded snippets of speeches from Taft, Wilson, and Roosevelt. (A transcript is available.)

Presidential Election Of 1912 Saw Viable Third Party (NPR)

A lot of people were beginning to look at the socialist party, which was developing into a very important reform party with a very popular candidate in Debs as the alternative to the Republican Party.

And I’ve argued that had T.R. not, so to speak, preempted the socialist party, short-circuited it and stolen its thunder by proposing a more moderate form of reform, then the socialist party might have gotten many more votes than it did get in 1912.

Saturday, October 12, 1912

Theodore Roosevelt is really coming to Champaign on Tuesday. He will be here from noon until two o’clock. If the weather is suitable, he will speak at West Side Park. The Courier-Herald supports Taft, which is evident in this article. The writer calls Roosevelt “Theodore Rex, chief of the order and grand inciter of uneasiness” and describes local progressives as “scampering about as excited as the small boy at the first blast of the distant calliope on circus day.”

The bloodhound that was set upon the trail of the “Black Hand” lost the scent in the northern part of Urbana, so Gerry Nordo may continue to be plagued by this mysterious agency.

George Huff, the director of athletics at the University of Illinois, disapproves of the undignified present-day methods of evoking enthusiasm at games, and cheer leading may be banned. “It is not necessary for cheer leaders to go through the gyrations usually followed,” he said.

Finally, a Chicago man became stuck in quicksand near Alton, being drawn into it until only his head was visible. He escaped death, but the experience drove him insane. Doctors are doubtful that he will regain his sanity.

Friday, October 4, 1912

The Courier-Herald has published an extensive list of Mr. Roosevelt’s planks, along with evidence that Congress has already enacted them.

The well-known local violinist Sol Cohen has contributed an article about Sousa’s appearance last night at the Illinois theater. He calls Sousa’s band “probably the best of its kind in the world.”

Saturday, September 21, 1912

A dairyman fell asleep in his wagon and was struck by an Oregon street car last night at California and Broad streets. Neighbors arriving on the scene found the wagon quite damaged and the team down, but “Bud” Smith was still snoozing on the seat. He said over and over, “Them ___ ____ fellers run too fast.” Worried that his arm was “busted,” he asked bystanders to “feel that lump.” The “lump” was his elbow. The motorman and conductor of the car stated in their official report that Smith was very much intoxicated.

Gordon Pettigrew, who is charged with implication in the death of Edna Vice as the result of an effort to produce an abortion, was brought up from Albion by Sheriff Davis last night. He only learned this morning that the girl was dead. Pettigrew, an eighteen-year-old member of a well-to-do family in Southern Illinois, would only say, “I’ve only been with that girl three times.” Before her death, Miss Vice confided to relatives that a Champaign physician, to whom Pettigrew had taken her a week ago, had performed a criminal operation on her.

The Bull Moose crowd in Urbana are very excited because Teddy Roosevelt may be here Monday. Roosevelt is to make a trip of three days on a special car through Illinois towns. An itinerary is given in the article.

Eugene V. Debs, the presidential nominee of the Socialist party, invited President Taft to enter into debate, but the president declined.