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“He’ll Never Get Up Again”

December 28, 2017

The Republican Party was founded in 1854.  In the fourteen Presidential elections from 1856 to 1908, despite winning the national election eleven times, the Republican candidate never won the state of Georgia.  Republican Theodore Roosevelt received only 18.3% of the Georgia vote in 1904, but as the Bull Moose Party candidate in 1912, he hoped to do better among Southern whites.  The voters of Georgia were not impressed and gave Roosevelt only 18.1% of their 1912 vote.

By the beginning of October 1912 it was obvious that Roosevelt had spent too much time campaigning in the South and not enough in the Mid-West.  Although victory was still possible, it was becoming very unlikely.  Perhaps the best he could hope for was a strong second place finish that would affirm the worth of his ideas.  Surely Wisconsin, the home of progressive Republican Senator Robert La Follette, would prefer him to the Southerner the Democrats had nominated.  Besides, Wisconsin had voted Democratic only once since the Civil War, and that was 20 years ago.  Unfortunately for Roosevelt, he would receive an even lower percentage of the popular vote in Wisconsin than in Georgia!

On the evening of October 14, 1912, as Roosevelt arrived in Milwaukee to deliver a campaign speech, he was shot by a man who was standing about seven feet away.  His traveling companions watched as their candidate dropped without even so much as a groan.  Roosevelt’s twenty-year-old cousin was among the entourage.  Philip Roosevelt’s first thought was: “He’ll never get up again.”


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