American Third Parties

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Terms in this set (12)

There were three notable iterations of the Progressive Party in the 20th century, each with its own ideology and goals.
Former President Theodore Roosevelt's Progressive Party (established 1912), better known as the Bull Moose Party, was created after he was unable to reclaim the Republican nomination from his former ally William Howard Taft. Roosevelt pitted his platform of New Nationalism, which promised reforms inspired by the Progressive movement, against Democrat Woodrow Wilson's more conservative New Freedom. In the most successful American third party campaign ever, Roosevelt's 27% was still only enough to win 6 states; the split of the Republican voter base between him and Taft ensured a dominant victory for Democrat Woodrow Wilson despite only receiving 42% of the vote.
Senator Robert M. La Follette, Sr.'s Progressive Party (established 1924) was created for him to run for president on his own brand of Progressive ideals different from those of Roosevelt, his onetime rival. Running on promises resembling those of the earlier Populists, La Follette grabbed 17% of the vote in the 1924 election with 13 electoral votes from his home state of Wisconsin. He came close to Democrat nominee John W. Davis in votes, but neither could prevent Republican Calvin Coolidge's re-election.
Former Vice President Henry Wallace's Progressive Party (established 1948) formed out of Wallace's disagreements with his replacement as FDR's vice president, incumbent Harry S. Truman, who had fired Wallace from his position as Secretary of Commerce. In addition to promoting leftist reforms, Wallace also wanted cooperation with the Soviet Union, though his association with the Soviets and Communism hurt his popularity. In spite of this, he still won 2.4% of the vote with well over a million votes in a contentious election that Truman barely won over Thomas Dewey.