Roosevelt relinquished the presidency in 1908, believing that his Progressive legacy lay safely in the hands of his handpicked successor, William Howard Taft. Although Taft expanded many of Roosevelt’s policies and succeeded in passing through Congress the Sixteenth Amendment, permitting a national income tax, Roosevelt challenged Taft in the 1912 Republican primary. Losing the nomination, he announced an independent candidacy under the banner of the Progressive or “Bull Moose” Party. In this campaign speech, he urges more direct power to the people through recall elections, referenda and initiatives, and direct primaries.
March 20, 1912
The great fundamental issue now before the Republican party and before our people can be stated briefly. It is, Are the American people fit to govern themselves, to rule themselves, to control themselves? I believe they are. My opponents do not. Read more