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Theodore 'Teddy' Roosevelt is one of America's most popular presidents. The charismatic hunter, soldier, historian and explorer captivated a nation struggling to establish a new identity in the years after the Civil War.

This original design recalls the 1912 presidential election. Roosevelt (who famously believed every man deserved a "square deal") and his supporters left the Republican National Convention that year and later re-emerged as the Progressive Party. He told reporters he felt "strong as a bull moose," giving the group its unofficial nickname. The new party proposed what at the time were considered radical social, economic and political reforms such as allowing women to vote, limiting corporate contributions to campaigns, prohibition of child labor, a minimum wage for workers and protection of our natural resources.

Our drawing reflects the style of political art of that era, and is carefully distressed to create an authentic look. Finally, it's printed on green, ultra-soft tees.

Theodore Roosevelt -  Bull Moose Party 1912 Presidential Campaign T-shirt - Unisex
Theodore Roosevelt -  Bull Moose Party 1912 Presidential Campaign T-shirt - Womens
100% cotton regular fit mens tee
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100% cotton regular fit womens tee
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Theodore Roosevelt

To destroy this invisible Government, to dissolve the unholy alliance between
corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship of the day

1912 Progressive Party Platform

Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore 'Teddy' Roosevelt (1858 - 1919) might easily have enjoyed a life of leisure, a wealthy Gilded Age New Yorker observing from a distance as urbanization and immigration transformed the City; as unchecked industry swallowed the eager new Americans who produced immense wealth for businessmen and bankers; as the political machine took advantage of a government ill-prepared to meet the needs of its working class.

"There has never yet been a man in our history who led a life of ease whose name is worth remembering."

Instead - and despite many physical limitations, including severe asthma - he embraced the "strenuous," as he called it, in both his personal and professional life. An avid hunter, hiker and boxer, Roosevelt thrived on pushing his body to its limit and beyond. When the Spanish-American War erupted in 1898, Roosevelt left his position as Assistant Secretary of the Navy to organize and serve in the volunteer cavalry known as the Rough Riders. Under fire from guerrillas, he led the successful charge up San Juan Hill in Cuba, later calling it the "great day" of his life.

"Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat."

The zeal with which he pushed his body was matched by his fervor, as a member of the Civil Service Commission and later as New York City Theodore Roosevelt Fact 1Police Commissioner, to root out corruption, promote fairness and eradicate cronyism and patronage. Roosevelt believed each individual deserved a fair chance; with the playing field leveled, each man is responsible for his own success or failure.

As President, Roosevelt saw his Republican Party resist government intervention into the burgeoning new industries in the late 1800s, while a growing social and economic progressive reform movement sought to protect workers from unscrupulous bosses and the American public from corporate monopolies.

Roosevelt would align with the progressives throughout his presidential terms. Remembered today as a "trust-buster," his administration worked to dissolve over 40 violators of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. He further alienated himself from the party with his support for labor unions and his call for social welfare reforms.

Theodore Roosevelt Fact 2"Let the watchwords of all our people be the old familiar watchwords of honesty, decency, fair-dealing, and commonsense ... We must treat each man on his worth and merits as a man. We must see that each is given a square deal, because he is entitled to no more and should receive no less."

Roosevelt ended his second presidential term believing that his successor, William Howard Taft, would continue to advance the progressive agenda. When this didn't happen, Roosevelt re-entered the political arena as an opponent of Taft for the 1912 Republican Presidential nomination.

"Our country offers the most wonderful example of democratic government on a giant scale that the world has ever seen; and the peoples of the world are watching to see whether we succeed or fail."

The 1912 election season was as combative as any before or after. At that time only 12 states held direct presidential primaries; others had yet to embrace a popular vote. Roosevelt won most of the primaries - most by a landslide - but in the other states, the Party was in control, and the Party wanted Taft. Taft thought Roosevelt was a social radical; Roosevelt thought Taft was a reactionary career politician; in the end, neither man was awarded enough delegates to claim victory, and the stage was set for war at the Chicago Coliseum that summer.

It was not lost on Roosevelt or his supporters that in the states where ordinary citizens could vote, they were voting most certainly for Roosevelt. He began to contest results in states where conventions and caucuses chose delegates, alleging a Taft bias. A week before the convention, of the 254 contested delegates, 235 of them were handed over to Taft by the Republican National Committee.

Progressive Party Platform 1912Furious, certain that delegates had been stolen from him, Roosevelt arrived in Chicago and dramatically warned that unless the delegates were re-reapportioned fairly his supporters would not participate in the proceedings. When it became clear that the Republican Party would re-nominate Taft despite his protestations, Roosevelt and his delegates walked out and later reassembled as members of the newly formed Progressive Party.

"This country will not be a good place for any of us to live in unless we make it a good place for all of us to live in."

Known unofficially as the Bull Moose Party, owing to Roosevelt's announcement that he felt as "strong as a bull moose," the Party's platform called for women's suffrage, environmental conservation, child labor laws, economic reforms, workers' compensation and many other progressive reforms.

Particularly with regard to women's rights, the Bull Moose Party represented a major advance in the progressive movement. In fact, neither President Taft nor the Democratic Party nominee that year, Woodrow Wilson, would endorse women's suffrage.Theodore Roosevelt Fact 3

Roosevelt went about the business of promoting himself and his party with his customary passion and intensity. Hours before a scheduled speech in Milwaukee that October, an assailant fired a .32 caliber pistol straight at Roosevelt's heart; the bullet instead met the case holding the folded-up speech pages Roosevelt carried in his breast pocket, only wounding him. Still bleeding from the bullet piercing, he gave the speech, held up the now red-streaked pages and announced, "It takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose!"

"A vote is like a rifle; its usefulness depends on the character of the user."

Unfortunately for the Bull Moosers, with Roosevelt and Taft now effectively splitting the Republican vote, the path was clear for the Democrat Wilson to win the election. Roosevelt did win more votes than Taft, however - to this day the only time a third-party candidate beat one of the two main parties.

Theodore Roosevelt Fact 4"There is not a man of us who does not at times need a helping hand to be stretched out to him,
and then shame upon him who will not stretch out the helping hand to his brother."

After the election, Roosevelt and his son Kermit embarked on a dangerous journey in Brazil, traveling the turbulent "River of Doubt." Their crew of naturalists and cameramen were plagued by insects, injuries, hunger and fever but managed to map the previously uncharted river. Additionally, thousands of bird and mammal specimens were collected as they navigated the perilous rapids, later renamed Roosevelt River. Roosevelt himself never fully recovered from the malaria and fever he contracted, which would contribute to his early death at the age of 60 in Oyster Bay, New York.

"In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing,
the next best thing is the wrong thing,
and the worst thing you can do is nothing."


Bloomfield, Kevin. "The Progressive Party and the 1912 Presidential Election". President Elect, January 26, 2009
Historical Text Archive. Teddy Roosevelt and the Progressive Era, 1901-1908.
Howland, Harold (July 2001). "Theodore Roosevelt and His Times, a Chronicle of the Progressive Movement"; Project Gutenberg. Retrieved 2009-10-12
Law Library - American Law and Legal Information. Progressive Party.
Mowry, George E. The Era Of Theodore Roosevelt And The Birth Of Modern American 1900 1912. New York: Harper, 1958.
O’Toole, Patricia. "The War of 1912". Time, June 25, 2006.
Roosevelt, Theodore. Theodore Roosevelt: An Autobiography. New York: MacMillan, 1913.
Saunders, Roger. "Theodore Roosevelt's Rough Riders: A Band of Miners, Cowboys, Hunters Free Cuba in Spanish American War". Suite101, February 16, 2008.
Theodore Roosevelt Association. Chartered by an Act of Congress in 1920, The Theodore Roosevelt Association provides authoritative information on the life and ideals of Theodore Roosevelt.