Bull Moose Progressive Party t-shirt

Bull Moose Progressive Party t-shirt

19.95 25.00

Speak softly and carry a big stick. And then when your political friends betray you start your own party.

The original Progressive Party platform focused on political and economic reforms like disclosure of campaign contributions and registration of lobbyists. They pushed for direct election of senators and women’s suffrage. And they even clamored for judicial recall and recall elections.

Economically, the Progressive Party wanted to create an 8-hour workday, establish a minimum wage for women, worker’s compensation, an inheritance tax, social insurance for the elderly, disabled, and unemployed.

And this party was started by a Republican.

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Historical Background

Theodore Roosevelt was not a conservative politically. In fact, when his successor President Taft showed his more conservative tendencies, Roosevelt created his own party—The Progressive Party. 

Upon beginning a 90-minute stump speech for his progressive campaign, Roosevelt exclaimed, "It takes more than that to kill a bull moose!" He had been shot in the chest only minutes before the speech. His thick speech notes were his only savior that day, slowing the bullet to a non-lethal speed.

He championed “New Nationalism” and wanted to reign in judicial power while strengthen the executive to regulate industry, protect the working class, and continue creating national projects. It seemed like it was a hit.

The only problem? It was eerily similar to the Democratic Party’s platform and Woodrow Wilson’s “New Freedom,” and in the end Roosevelt was only able to split the Republican Party. Despite the attempt it seemed having two reformers running at the same time didn’t work and the U.S. went with Wilson.

However it wasn’t entirely a loss: Teddy Roosevelt still beat Taft in both the popular and electoral college elections. His third party campaign still stands as the most successful in U.S. history.