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Mar 31

The Election that Transformed America: Teddy Roosevelt, the 1912 Election, and the Progressive Party

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Led by Theodore Roosevelt, the Progressive Party made the 1912 campaign a passionate contest for the soul of the American people. Promoting an ambitious program of economic, social, and political reform – "New Nationalism" – that posed profound challenges to constitutional government, TR and his Progressive supporters provoked an extraordinary debate about the future of the country. In Theodore Roosevelt, the Progressive Party, and the Transformation of American Democracy, Sidney Milkis revisits this emotionally charged contest to show how a party seemingly consumed by its leader's ambition dominated the election and left an enduring legacy that set in motion the rise of mass democracy and the expansion of national administrative power. The Progressive Party’s program of social reform and “direct democracy” has reverberated through American politics – especially in 2008, with Barack Obama appealing to similar instincts. By probing the deep historical roots of contemporary developments in American politics, Milkis shows that Progressivism continues to shape American politics a century later.

Sidney M. Milkis is the author or coauthor of six books, including The President and the Parties, Political Parties and Constitutional Government: Remaking American Democracy, and Theodore Roosevelt, the Progressive Party, and the Transformation of American Democracy. He holds a B.A. from Muhlenberg College and a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Pennsylvania. William A. Schambra has written extensively on the Constitution, the theory and practice of civic revitalization, and civil society. Ronald J. Pestritto is an expert on American Political Thought and American Progressivism.

More About the Speakers

Sidney M. Milkis

White Burkett Miller Professor of Politics and Assistant Director of Academic Programs,

Miller Center of Public Affairs,
The University of Virginia


With Commentaries from:

William A. Schambra

Bradley Center for Philanthropy and Civic Renewal,
and Senior Fellow,
The Hudson Institute


Ronald J. Pestritto

Charles and Lucia Shipley Chair in American Constitution,
and Associate Professor of Political Science,
Hillsdale College

Hosted By

Joseph Postell, Ph.D. Joseph Postell, Ph.D.

Visiting Fellow, B. Kenneth Simon Center for Principles and Politics Read More