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Thu Jan 24, 2013, 04:49 AM

Excerpts from Teddy Roosevelt's Progressive Party Platform (1912)

I know these are just words, but parts of the platform represent the concept of progressivism that I believe in.
We've come a long way since then, for better or worst, but I like the idea that a hundred years ago, people like me and you actually existed.

• We hold with Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln that the people are the masters of their Constitution, to fulfill its purposes and to safeguard it from those who, by perversion of its intent, would convert it into an instrument of injustice. In accordance with the needs of each generation the people must use their sovereign powers to establish and maintain equal opportunity and industrial justice, to secure which this Government was founded and without which no republic can endure.

This country belongs to the people who inhabit it. Its resources, its business, its institutions and its laws should be utilized, maintained or altered in whatever manner will best promote the general interest.

It is time to set the public welfare in the first place.

• Political parties exist to secure responsible government and to execute the will of the people.

• The Progressive party, believing that a free people should have the power from time to time to amend their fundamental law so as to adapt it progressively to the changing needs of the people, pledges itself to provide a more easy and expeditious method of amending the Federal Constitution.

• Up to the limit of the Constitution, and later by amendment of the Constitution, it found necessary, we advocate bringing under effective national jurisdiction those problems which have expanded beyond reach of the individual States.

It is as grotesque as it is intolerable that the several States should by unequal laws in matter of common concern become competing commercial agencies, barter the lives of their children, the health of their women and the safety and well being of their working people for the benefit of their financial interests.

• We pledge our party to legislation that will compel strict limitation of all campaign contributions and expenditures, and detailed publicity of both before as well as after primaries and elections.


The Progressive party demands such restriction of the power of the courts as shall leave to the people the ultimate authority to determine fundamental questions of social welfare and public policy. To secure this end, it pledges itself to provide:

• That when an Act, passed under the police power of the State is held unconstitutional under the State Constitution, by the courts, the people, after an ample interval for deliberation, shall have an opportunity to vote on the question whether they desire the Act to become law, notwithstanding such decision.

• That every decision of the highest appellate court of a State declaring an Act of the Legislature unconstitutional on the ground of its violation of the Federal Constitution shall be subject to the same review by the Supreme Court of the United States as is now accorded to decisions sustaining such legislation.

The supreme duty of the Nation is the conservation of human resources through an enlightened measure of social and industrial justice. We pledge ourselves to work unceasingly in State and Nation for:

Effective legislation looking to the prevention of industrial accidents, occupational diseases, overwork, involuntary unemployment, and other injurous effects incident to modern industry;

• The fixing of minimum safety and health standards for the various occupations, and the exercise of the public authority of State and Nation, including the Federal Control over interstate commerce, and the taxing power, to maintain such standards;

• The prohibition of child labor;

• Minimum wage standards for working women, to provide a "living wage" in all industrial occupations;

• The general prohibition of night work for women and the establishment of an eight hour day for women and young persons;

• One day’s rest in seven for all wage workers;

• The eight hour day in continuous twenty-four hour industries;


We favor the union of all the existing agencies of the Federal Government dealing with the public health into a single national health service without discrimination against or for any one set of therapeutic methods, school of medicine, or school of healing with such additional powers as may be necessary to enable it to perform efficiently such duties in the protection of the public from preventable diseases as may be properly undertaken by the Federal authorities, including the executing of existing laws regarding pure food, quarantine and cognate subjects, the promotion of vital statistics and the extension of the registration area of such statistics, and co-operation with the health activities of the various States and cities of the Nation.


We believe that true popular government, justice and prosperity go hand in hand, and, so believing, it is our purpose to secure that large measure of general prosperity which is the fruit of legitimate and honest business, fostered by equal justice and by sound progressive laws.

We demand that the test of true prosperity shall be the benefits conferred thereby on all the citizens, not confined to individuals or classes, and that the test of corporate efficiency shall be the ability better to serve the public; that those who profit by control of business affairs shall justify that profit and that control by sharing with the public the fruits thereof.


We believe there exists imperative need for prompt legislation for the improvement of our National currency system. We believe the present method of issuing notes through private agencies is harmful and unscientific.

The issue of currency is fundamentally a Government function and the system should have as basic principles soundness and elasticity. The control should be lodged with the Government and should be protected from domination or manipulation by Wall Street or any special interests.


Through the establishment of industrial standards we propose to secure to the able-bodied immigrant and to his native fellow workers a larger share of American opportunity.

We denounce the fatal policy of indifference and neglect which has left our enormous immigrant population to become the prey of chance and cupidity.


The people of the United States are swindled out of many millions of dollars every year, through worthless investments. The plain people, the wage earner and the men and women with small savings, have no way of knowing the merit of concerns sending out highly colored prospectuses offering stock for sale, prospectuses that make big returns seem certain and fortunes easily within grasp.

We hold it to be the duty of the Government to protect its people from this kind of piracy. We, therefore, demand wise, carefully thought out legislation that will give us such Governmental supervision over this matter as will furnish to the people of the United States this much-needed protection, and we pledge ourselves thereto.

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Reply Excerpts from Teddy Roosevelt's Progressive Party Platform (1912) (Original post)
FleetwoodMac Jan 2013 OP
In_The_Wind Jan 2013 #1
Wednesdays Jan 2013 #2
FleetwoodMac Jan 2013 #3
OnionPatch Jan 2013 #4
FleetwoodMac Jan 2013 #5

Response to FleetwoodMac (Original post)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 05:09 AM

1. Kick

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Response to FleetwoodMac (Original post)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 08:41 AM

2. This ticket got one of the highest percentage of votes

For any 3rd party candidate since the Civil War. Considering Wilson (who agreed with much of the Progressive platform) won the GE, the country was full tilt towards change. It unfortunately was cut off with World War I and Nationalism, which continued into the 1920's.

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Response to Wednesdays (Reply #2)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 09:40 AM

3. Absolutely. Take a look at this Nov 7, 1912, snapshot from the New York Tribune...

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Response to FleetwoodMac (Original post)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 10:48 AM

4. Ah yes....back in the days when the Republicans were liberals.

Too many modern conservatives try to claim the good things the Republican party did previous to this last fifty years or so. The only thing is....they wouldn't have been Republicans had they lived during those times.

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Response to OnionPatch (Reply #4)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 06:33 PM

5. Comparatively, yes. But even then, they've lost their way

Teddy left the party, and in the platform, he characterized the GOP in no kind light.

• "The deliberate betrayal of its trust by the Republican party,"

• "The Republican organization is in the hands of those who have broken, and cannot again be trusted to keep, the promise of necessary downward revision. "

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