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1911 1912 1913

American Politics Year in Review

In a battle that was to shape the modern Republican Party, incumbent William Howard Taft defeated former President Theodore Roosevelt for the party's presidential nomination. Roosevelt then ran as the Progressive Party's candidate, leading many economic reformers out of the party; this third-party candidacy actually finished second in the general election, behind Woodrow Wilson, the Democratic winner.

Roosevelt was in some ways the precursor to the early neo-conservative movement, when its members were still in the Democratic Party. Roosevelt, like the 1970s neo-conservatives, combined an idealization of military virtues with a strong belief that government should provide protection for workers against excesses of corporate power. He was a path breaker in that he was the first President to be identified with such economic reforms.

Opposed to his economics, and also, to some degree, to his imperialism, was Taft, his former vice-president. Taft came from the pro-big-business wing of the party, a wing which on the national stage had generally been represented by Taft's fellow Ohioans, such as Marcus Alonzo Hanna and William McKinley. The 1912 battle for the nomination solidified the Ohioans' grip on the party.

The Taft wing's pro-big-business slant has persisted to this day. Their isolationism lasted a generation, but was interrupted by World War II and ended with the development of the military-industrial complex. (That phenomenon -- the creation of a large permanent military that buys its weapons and other necessities from private industry -- made American imperialism more profitable for the party's industrial backers than it had been before.) These Taft Republicans are one of the two major components of the current Republican Party, comparable in significance to social reactionaries who became alarmed at changes in society in the 1960s and 1970s.


  • Arizona, Kansas and Oregon grant women the right to vote. To date all the states that have done so are west of the Mississipi River.
  • Italy declares it is sovereign over Tripolitania and Cyrenaica. Italian troops occupy Rhodes and the other Dodecanese.
  • Morocco is recognized as a French protectorate (colony) by other European powers.
  • Argentina grants universal male sugrage and the secret ballot.
  • The new Republic of China becomes the fourth country in Asia to adopt a formal constitution.
  • Two men in Sudan, Ahmad al-Dirdiri and al-Sadiq al Na'im, who declare themselves to be the nabi 'isa or the Prophet Jesus, are arrested but then relased as insane and harmless.
  • U.S. Marines continue to occupy the Isthmus of Panama, which they will do until January 21, 1914. U.S. Marines also intervene in Honduras.


  • January 1: Harold Adrian Rusell "Kim" Philby is born in Amballa, India, the son of Harry St. John Philby.
  • January 6: New Mexico becomes the 47th state.
  • February 14: First U.S. submarines with diesel engines are commissioned in Groton, CT.
  • March 16: Mrs. William Howard Taft plants 1st cherry tree in Washington, DC.
  • March 23: Future space pioneeer Werner von Braun is born in Wirsitz, Prussia, in Germany.
  • March 27: First Japanese cherry blossom trees planted in Washington, DC.
  • April 14: Pan American Union established.
  • May 18: Walter Max Ulyate Sisulu is born in Engcobo in what is today Eastern Cape Province, South Africa.
  • June 4: Massachusetts passes the first U.S. minimum wage law.
  • June 5-8: U.S. Marines occupy Oriente Province, Cuba.
  • June 23: Alan Turing is born in Paddington, London.
  • July 30: Mutsuhito, a.k.a. Emperor Meiji, the 122nd emperor in his line, dies at 60.
  • August 24-26: U.S. military occupies Kentucky Island in China.
  • August 26-30: U.S. military occupies Camp Nicholson in China.
  • October 4: General Benjamin Zeledón, former Nicaraguan minister of defence, and opponent of US occupation, is executed. His lifeless body is dragged through the streets. Seventeen year old Augusto Sandino observed the defilement.
  • November 18: Albania declares independence from Turkey.
  • November 18-December 3: Units of U.S. Marines guard the U.S. legation in Constantinople.
  • December 23: Indian nationalists wound British Indian Viceroy Lord Hardinge by bombing his elephant while he parades into Delhi.
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