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Crimson Banners Fly: The Rise of the American Left

Part 6: Chapter XXII - Page 142 - 1916 RNC
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The Republican Convention at the Chicago Coliseum, June 1916 - Source: Wiki Commons

During the Presidential Contingent Election in 1913, Senate Republicans set a new and unorthodox tone by casting their votes for the Progressive vice-presidential nominee, Hiram Johnson. Press guesswork regarding cooperation between the Columbian and GOP managers was in no short supply since the initial rise of Theodore Roosevelt as a prospective contender on the national stage, but nothing definitively materialized until the Cullom-La Follette compromise. The two political parties disagreed vehemently over implementation of the Square Deal and the constitutionality of each individual policy therein, yet President Roosevelt achieved a greater share of cross-over, bipartisan support for his legislation than any elected leader in recent memory. The incumbent strode that political tightrope well and indeed secured some degree of respect among even the toughest partisans lining the aisles of Congress.

A varied assortment of Republican bigwigs gradually arrived at a novel idea, a shot in the dark, to name Roosevelt president on the Republican ticket. These "fusionists", named so by historians after the Democratic/Populist phenomenon of the 1890s, supported the president's war effort in an absolute fashion. Henry Cabot Lodge, for example, sharply disapproved of intrusive regulation into private enterprise, but he and the executive lined up on foreign affairs like peas in a pod. Lodge feared that a presidential swap in this historic moment risked an uncertain outcome in the war. In this the senator was not alone. Seeking a temporary truce for the purpose of settling international scores, some Republicans kickstarted a genuine movement for the nomination of Roosevelt in the lead-up to their convention, and for a time their path seemed tangible.

The rightmost section of the Republicans never let their anger and frustration over the contingent election results fade from memory. Figures like Representative William S. Greene (R-MA), who failed thrice to be elected GOP House minority leader, let bitterness block pragmatism from view. Refusing to allow Roosevelt to characterize them as foolish or subservient, they openly disapproved of his nomination and sought after it themselves. Curiously, historical accounts do not name conservatism as the dominant thread running through the Republicans' 1916 anti-Roosevelt current. Although it is fair to assume that staunch conservatives preferred a White House occupant more attentive to financial "soundness" and raising tariffs, the tide of war, as insinuated above, overwrote that inclination. Whether liberal or conservative, the politicians most displeased with Roosevelt were agitated exclusively over the war issue. These were no pacifists. On the contrary, they wholeheartedly supported Preparedness. The matter of contention squared down to which side the U.S. was on.

A steady stream of Northeastern Republicans, namely attorneys, bankers, and academics, belonged to a foreign policy school of thought dubbed "Atlanticism". This cadre, albeit a somewhat contrarian and out-of-place philosophy in the 1910s to the average American, strongly believed in cooperative internationalism with the United Kingdom and European democracies. Some trusted in this brand of Anglophilia over concerns of how a post-war Europe could operate under the thumb of the German Empire and earnestly feared for the future of Europe. Others had a vested, monetary interest in the success and profitability of the Entente and simply wagered on the wrong horse. Manhattan lawyer Paul Drennan Cravath was particularly influential in this field of thought and had been a guiding figure of Atlanticism within the Republican Party. Cravath detested Roosevelt not for military engagement, as he desired U.S. entry just as fervently as the president, but for performing the heathenish act of joining with the Central Powers. Atlanticists bristled at the mere thought of a third term Roosevelt presidency.

These disparate factions settled in at the Republican National Convention in Chicago. The scene was lighthearted enough to distract from the tumultuous state of the world, though somber in recognition of the lives lost thus far in the war. Attendance had also fallen from its 1912 height, probably due to a combination of lacking interest in Republican politics at the peak of the Progressive Era and a sharp reduction in donor expenditures. High-dollar donors were a mainstay of the Republican Party, and they always sent out commissaries for the conventions at the state and national level, but as a consequence of the unstable economy and in the knowledge that their wealth hinged on success in Europe and Canada, financial investment in the party was low.

Platform debates were tempered. Atlanticists did not stress the inclusion of a pro-Entente sentiment, obviously fearing that doing so would jeopardize their electoral chances come November, and instead voted approvingly on a more neutral and concealed foreign relations plank. The section read, "We believe that the dignity and influence of the United States cannot be preserved by shifty expedients, by phrase-making, by performances in language, or by attitudes ever changing in an effort to secure votes or voters. The present Administration has destroyed our influence abroad and humiliated us in our own eyes." Elsewise, the Republicans supported peacemaking missions in Mexico, a rigid defense of hegemony in the Pacific, a heightened tariff, a lowered income tax, a federal child labor law, and women's suffrage. This middle-of-the-road, even reformist, platform reflected the changing landscape of the country and the shifting of acceptable political philosophy ever slightly to the left.

Sparks finally flew on the third day of the convention as mixed reactions to the nominating speeches quickly produced a spotlight on factional division.


Seeds planted from the Roosevelt-Fairbanks Bargain sprouted at last at the national convention. J.P. Morgan partner and an on-again, off-again ally to the Progressives, George W. Perkins, organized divergent tendencies of the party into a single, loud advocacy for fusion. Campaigns running counter to the fusionist strategy struggled at first to match the energy and momentum of the Perkins' and Fairbanks' of the time, but by June they did stand on equal footing. [...] Senator Root nominated Theodore Roosevelt for president. "The first duty of the Republican Party in the coming campaign is to retain the material prosperity of the Republic, which has been built up during the last half century. Prosperity cannot exist without exerting our influence and position beyond our own borders. To do this we must have a candidate who will command support beyond the strict limits of the party..." At Root's conclusion, half of the convention cheered, and half hissed. Senators Lodge, Fairbanks, and Hale, Minority Leader James Mann, Governor Charles Evans Hughes, and former Vice President William Howard Taft were among those who applauded the speech.
Of the four Republicans industriously competing for the nomination, only one carried substantive delegate support and shone above the field: Senator [John W.] Weeks of Massachusetts. His colleague, Representative Frederick Gillett, presented the nominating speech. "Not long ago, our party was still the majority party," Gillett said. "In numerical strength, in mental and moral force, and in adaptability to and in experience with the affairs of government, it was by far the superior party, and it ought to have won in that election. By unfortunately bitter antagonisms and an underhanded ploy thrust defeat upon us. We are now assembled to formulate an alternative for a madness that has taken hold of the government. It is a grave responsibility that rests upon us. The time is a serious one. Almost the entire world is ablaze with the fires of war, and the continent on which we stand is not exempt. We must make the world safe for democracy." Now it was the other half of the room that rose and delivered a standing ovation. Weeks, they assumed, wielded the political chops necessary to challenge an incumbent and win.
Jay R. Morgan, The American Elephant: A Study of the Republican Party, 1980

Conservatives and Atlanticists alike held Weeks in high regard. Opposing candidates simply did not carry the same appeal with state delegates and thereby fell to the wayside. Former Speaker Thomas Butler, the Republican presidential nominee four years earlier, was on the fence on fusion tactics and reportedly spoke at length with George Perkins on the subject. Gillett's remarks seemed to change his mind, however, and Butler thenceforth quietly supported Weeks for president. Each of the supposed rising stars in the party did the same, like Senator Warren G. Harding and Congressman James Wolcott Wadsworth (R-NY). Former President Depew, now aged 82 yet still beloved in Republican circles, also emerged opposed to a unity plea with the Progressives. He drove home support for the Weeks Campaign during a brief in-person appearance and professed admiration for Gillett's exuberant words on the convention floor. Perkins, meanwhile, struggled to preserve his movement's own momentum, but he was not blind to the writing on the wall. The financier ceded the win to the senator as the first roll call finalized the nomination, but fusionists nonetheless maintained their reservations.

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Part 6: Chapter XXII - Page 143 - 1916 DNC
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The National Democratic Convention In Session at St. Louis, June 1916 - Source: wiki Commons

Former President William R. Hearst spent the second Roosevelt presidency in political exile at his New York City abode: A five-story penthouse on Riverside Drive. His ongoing political investment, the Civic League of America, held just six seats in Congress and a smattering of statewide offices elsewhere. That delegation was run by CL House Minority Leader Daniel Driscoll, a shrewd, anti-machine politician. Driscoll, who was facing his own tough re-election battle at home, held the fledgling, six-person group together as a statement of opposition to the present Democratic leadership. Driscoll and Hearst knew that if the Civic League fielded a presidential candidate that would virtually assure Democratic defeat and lock-in a third term for the incumbent. Alternatively, Hearst running as a Democratic primary contender could, with adequate financial support, siphon enough Bryan voters and state delegate commitments to transform the summer nominating convention into a shot at retribution. That being said, the exiled leader and his closest allies were unable to picture a viable endgame that accounted for an actual Hearst victory. If the media magnate wished to keep his new political project relevant, his own likeness must first be removed center stage. Hearst therefore announced to a curious gaggle of journalists in spring of 1916, "my time in government is behind me. I have no plans to run."

Political historians typically have not judged its conclusively as either truth or fiction, but speculation popped up concerning an under-the-table deal involving leading Democrats and the Hearst men. The House investigation into the Manhattan Scandal continued in the mid-1910s supplementary to slackened investigatory procedures by New York State. These were quite plainly relegated to the backburner with Hearst no longer in the public eye (then furthermore pushed aside with the outbreak of world war), but such simultaneous examinations had not yet officially ended. It may have simply been a mere coincidence, or perhaps something a bit more nefarious, but both investigations wrapped up in March 1916. No additional wrongdoing of the Hearst Campaign was unearthed by either the New York Justice Department or the House. Conspiracies surrounding the ceased inquiries were, and are, aplenty, as the timeline may suggest a quid pro quo, but nothing had been provable.

19 states held presidential primary contests from March through June. Results did not bind delegates for the convention, but it did certainly indicate which direction Democratic voters were headed. Governor Hunt nabbed Arizona by over 90% of the vote and Senator Watson easily outperformed the field in Georgia. Inactive favorite son candidates succeeded in South Dakota, Ohio, and Vermont, but voters in the remaining 14 states chose former President Bryan in a walloping for the ages. Reconfiguring a long-since abandoned base, the Nebraskan toured the countryside in search of support among those who shared in his point of view. These events were packed, regardless of location, and wherever the candidate traveled a crop of patrons arose from thin air to see the Great Commoner in person. Albeit balding, a bit heavier, and with a touch less boom to his oratory, the now-56-year-old populist champion retained his celebrity status.

Curiously, the fiery Nebraskan partially reformed his tone upon officially entering the battle for the presidential nomination. Bryan was never one to hold back in speaking his mind, especially if he felt assured that the American people were on his side. He had no scruples in defending the cause of peace and mutual cooperation when Roosevelt shouted from the rooftops for militarism, but he sensed the need to tread carefully as to not appear overly unpatriotic. He no longer brought forward the suggestion that the question for intervention be brought to a national referendum. Likewise, the famed orator now refused to explicitly denounce the war itself as a natural pursuit of corporations. He still insisted that an upper-class of businessmen milking the conflict for profits was morally repugnant, but Bryan never again took that additional step into pacifism. Americanism was the new reality, he believed, and it would do his campaign a disservice to insinuate fault in national loyalty.

Bryan professed a moralist worldview in all things. He saw war as an unjust creature unless designed to liberate, supported women's suffrage in the belief that all mothers were inherently trustworthy, and pledged to enact a national ban on alcohol as a way to preserve social order. Regarding the latter proposal, the former president unhesitatingly doubled down on his endorsement of temperance laws in 1916. Over 25 states had thus far passed some form or another of a "dry" ordinance and Bryan took this as a sign. He maintained that the banning of saloons would prompt the birth of a fruitful and devout United States. Social Gospelers, Anti-Saloon League, and the Federal Council of Churches loved the candidate for it. As later noted in a biographical interview, Bryan confessed that prohibition was a policy "nearer his heart," than the quest for peace, although both achievements slotted into his vision of a purer world.

By the time DNC Chair Judson Harmon's gavel struck the podium's sound block and brought the St. Louis Coliseum to silent order, few doubted the final outcome of the gathering. The Democratic National Convention, which began on June 14th, featured representatives of the varied and growing Democratic constituency all eager to spell the end for President Roosevelt. It was jubilant, optimistic, and housed a massive crowd. All in all, it exemplified the party's more promising optics than the rather pitiful Chicago convention one week beforehand. However, a quiet unease and sense of urgency shadowed over the festivities. For the first time in decades, the Democratic Party did not control a single branch of the federal government. Progressives controlled both the presidency and the House of Representatives, and in 1914 Senator Owen lost his majority leader status to Charles Fairbanks. 1916 was their definitive moment of truth, and many in the party's upper echelon signaled potential retirements if the Democrats failed to gain back a foothold in Washington.

The platform of the Democrats, one that dedicated just half of its total text to international relations and the ongoing global catastrophe, and loosely, subtly implied that the Central Powers were not reliable allies, passed without a hitch. Then, the nominating speeches commenced with the powerful, pro-peace address by Congressman George Huddleston (D-AL). "In a time like this," he contended, "it takes a lion-hearted courage for a man to stand up on his feet and dare to speak for peace." He gave a heartfelt plea for Bryan's nomination, followed by Claude Kitchin (D-NC) and his assertion that, "This nation is civilization's last hope, and the only remaining star of hope for Christendom." In stark contrast, Clifford Walker's (D-GA) remarks in favor of Watson stressed ire at "Bankers in the East" for pushing the country into war and a short digression aimed at ending the enlistment of black Americans - a common talking point of white supremacists during the conscription debate. In one of his final public appearances prior to his death in 1917, former Senator Richard Olney presented a short commemoration of past achievements by the party and paid tribute to the late Grover Cleveland.

In examining the sole delegate vote for the presidential nomination, one may observe Watson's startling overperformance. In spite (or perhaps because) of his demagoguery, outwardly racist views and religious bigotry, the Georgian senator placed an uncomfortably close second to Bryan. For the convention-goers, this was not particularly surprising. Segments of the Democratic and Civic League parties, at least since Hearst's rise, began dipping their toes into overt nativism. In conjunction with flourishing Southern Populism had been the amplification and greater acceptance of conspiratorial anti-Catholic and anti-Jewish sentiment alongside undisguised white supremacy. Self-described "Native Americans" were a minority in Democratic circles, but Watson's second-place finish symbolized just how far their influence spread. Watson-ites hoped to lengthen the balloting process, but due to the ear-tugging persuasion of giants like Champ Clark, the Midwest went conclusively for Bryan and ended any discussion of a potential second ballot. Fellow peace advocate Woodrow Wilson was selected as vice president thereafter.


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The Nebraskan smiled, rose to his feet, trekked to the stage, and delivered a remarkably confident, in-person acceptance speech.

It was twenty years ago that I became acquainted with a notable victory. [Applause.] Our party became responsible for national affairs. It was in sole control of all the departments of the Federal Government. It took away the power of the court system to criminalize work stoppages. It took away the power of trusts to exploit the American people. It took that first step into the wilderness and stood up to the unholy combination of the powers of high finance. These great measures constitute achievements which the Republican party dare not attack and the Columbians adopt as their own. They have not the courage to either admit their value or to condemn them. They cowardly evade the issue. Did they condemn the income tax in Chicago? No; and they will have the people to settle with, if they dare to go before them and propose to undo what has been done.
Your great Chairman today pointed out that our foreign policy had been successful. Republican politicians would have us invade and annex Mexico, then Central America. Their demands would have us conquering nations and destroying all the advantage we have gained in half a century in our efforts to cultivate the confidence of Latin America in Central and South America. The President would do the same, and then claim the inevitability of annexation. [Laughter and Applause.] And what of Canada? And what of the Philippines? We accepted the throngs of responsibility when tyranny crashed down upon the people of Cuba, and our engagement was conducted with a single objective. We did not seek subjugation, nor then did our government seek empire. Now, we mourn the loss of a colonial possession that was never ours to colonize. [...] My friends, we do not know when it will be possible to bring this war to a close, but we do know that ours, the greatest nation, is the one to which the world must look to to act as a mediator when the time for mediation comes.
But, my countrymen, we have a record that we can go to the country on, without fear and without blush. And I believe the American people will not be unmindful of the fact that it was a Democratic President that once brought us peace and prosperity, and a Columbian-Republican President that has bound us to war. If the nations now at war had spent one-tenth as much trying to cultivate friendship as they spent cultivating hatred, there would be no war today. [Applause.] If I understand this nation's opportunity and this nation's task, it is to lead the world away from its false philosophy and help it to build its hope of peace on the enduring foundation of love and brotherhood and cooperation. [Applause.]
William Jennings Bryan, Democratic Convention Acceptance Speech, Excerpt, June 16th, 1916
 
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Part 6: Chapter XXII - Page 144 - 1916 PNC
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Independence Day Parade Coinciding with Progressive National Convention, July 4th, 1916 - Source: U.S. Archives

Theodore Roosevelt's national image was of paramount importance for his fate in the presidential election. The dominant perception of the president shifted from a hero among heroes, ablaze in a rush atop San Juan Hill, to a sober yet eccentric war organizer. In essence, this was everything Roosevelt searched for and aspired to achieve in regaining the power of the Executive Branch. During the greatest global crisis of his lifetime, he was in a position of leadership and guidance. Much like Abraham Lincoln, of whom he admired profoundly, the president desired above all else to be a guiding light in otherwise dismal times. His status as a war leader inspirited the public at the start of the war, but an increasingly war weary populace swung this advantage into a disadvantage. The elected leader took to heart each and every report detailing a loss in public faith in government and of the U.S. war effort. To win, he believed, that trend necessitated a reversal.

As if the logical answer to Roosevelt's prayers, the National Progressive Convention of 1916 was designed to thrust the country into "a heroic mood," per the president's own words. Its organizers sought to aggressively outsize, outmatch, and out-Americanize the competition. Patriotism was at the forefront of this agenda, and as such the political party set the start date of the convention for the Fourth of July. Taking place at Madison Square Garden in New York, the somewhat ironically nicknamed "Empire Convention" excessively capitalized on planned Independence Day theming for their own political profits. A July 4th march planned for the seasonal festivities incorporated elements of the Preparedness parades and other garnishes courtesy of the White House, and that event in and of itself captured national headlines. It was a clever use of tradition to advance the president's patriotic campaign, and it perfectly exemplified the well-developed political astuteness of the incumbent.

The entire methodology of implanting patriotism and Americanism as a primary focal point of the Progressive Party, a continued trend from 1912, straightforwardly presented the president as a fitting chief executive for the moment. "Roosevelt and Victory!" read hundreds of leaflets and posters pasted throughout the convention halls. Others copied USIC anti-British sloganeering to illicit anger at the nation's enemy and provoke nationalist sentiment. "Stay the Course," another poster plead, donning an illustration of a ship captained by Uncle Sam, a murky ocean below tinted with the Union Jack, and a bright, yellowish horizon labeled "Prosperity". "Remember the Yellow Rose, Enlist and Fight On!" read other pamphlets littered throughout Manhattan. These messages did occasionally note the tribulations at the front, but always to merit a patriotic response, never to grieve.

Progressives on the national committee became more rigid and disciplined than in years prior. Now it barred, as a written prerequisite, anyone who spoke out against the war. It would not risk the slightest diversion from the course, even if that track sacrificed a bit of ceremonial unity. Similarly, the final party platform discernibly downsized its once-profuse descriptions of domestic reform and allotted that space for foreign affairs and the importance of patriotism and respect for one's country. It passed out one or two sentence responses to questions of suffrage, taxation, and the tariff, but otherwise insisted upon the war as the main focal point - win or lose. These alterations were despised by Senate Conference Chairman La Follette and the bulk of the Progressives' left wing, and they certainly opposed the changes on the floor of the convention, but an unmoving two-thirds of the delegates shot them down. "If an expulsion proposal had managed to reach the floor," pondered Ackerman, "it would almost certainly have passed."

Convention speeches arranged intermittently throughout the event gave some insight into internal strife at the PNC. Remarks by House Speaker Wesley Jones and Louisiana gubernatorial candidate John M. Parker threaded the needle betwixt the divisions, noting little of the platform and instead praising the president and reprimanding their Democratic foe. In their respective addresses, Senator Joseph Dixon of Montana complimented the administration's reform initiatives as they related to his constituency, Representative Ira C. Copley (P-IL) lauded the economic recovery, and Frank Munsey, Chairman of the Equitable Trust Company, expressed a hopeful view on the future of a Progressive-led U.S. Congress. For their loyalty in siding with the administration on the war resolution, several invited Republicans were also granted speaking time (incidentally validating Hearst's argument on double-dealing by the political establishment).

Without a doubt, the most remarkable feature about much of the convention rhetoric was how negatively it painted the anti-war movement in conjunction with the labor movement. Some of these speakers did not hold back an ounce of pure acrimony, and that was too true of figures who once posed as friends of labor. Governor William Stephens (P-CA) is perhaps the finest example. Stephens ran for a seat in the House of Representatives in 1910 and won based on a pro-reform and pro-union moniker, and in that time voiced favor of federal arbitration and the Square Deal. He was also a full-fledged supporter of the Roosevelt-sponsored drive to war and articulated tremendous outrage at the idea of pacifist interference. He served as Hiram Johnson's lieutenant governor, and, on the former's ascension to the vice presidency, Stephens became the new governor of California. The two saw eye-to-eye on the issues, including the need to quell peace rallies, so the changeover was rather unmemorable to most Californians. In his convention speech, Stephens stirred the delegation by firmly denouncing, "Radicals in our midst," who opposed the war. "The chaos of that vile demonstration last June has been replicated in cities all across this country. At the same time, we have endured threats of violence. In my city of San Francisco, we have uncovered reports of an alleged anarchist bomb threat as a deformed and detestable method of protesting patriotism." Stephens went on, citing the IWW as a plausible source of the threat per police documentation of the foiled plot.

Stephens' mentor, Hiram Johnson, was in 1916 the sitting vice president. Johnson instilled in his prodigy many of the same values that characterized the former's time in Sacramento, including pragmatic progressivism and an efficient, secure state government. "Hiram Warren Johnson underwent a transition that reflected the gradual transformation of the Progressive Party," wrote Ackerman. "In 1912 he took the place of former Vice President Taft as Roosevelt's first mate. His role in the Cabinet did not exceed any predecessor apart from his maintaining a tight-knit relationship with the president and encouraging bipartisanship and coalition-building in the Senate. Adopting a wary yet supportive posture on the war, he bridged the gap between Peace Progressives like La Follette and Addams and the internationalist faithful. Johnson originally had reservations against entry into the war but quietly evolved that position in time. He was uneasy at the thought of mass bloodshed as a cost of war yet emphatically supported the president's decision to join the conflict. In 1915 he may have urged caution, but one year later he was pushing for total conscription like the rest."

Vice President Johnson ardently defended the cause for war and held contempt for vocal opponents of it, a facet made evident through his striking convention speech.


This war is our defense of liberty and of civilization against the attack of militarism. We fight not only to protect American interests, influence, and her commerce, but to safeguard justice and freedom. We are fighting for the rights of traders, workers, and of all citizens, that never shall the civilized world see another Yellow Rose crucifixion. [...] We opened our eyes to the reddening horizon about us and we realize that civilization hangs in the balance. We must not indulge any faction that seeks surrender on that front. Those factions threaten the development of progress and disrupt national security. Subversives who have conspired to devastate our industries or defy enlistment procedures risk endangering American service to mankind.
Hiram W. Johnson, Progressive Convention Speech, July 6th, 1916

The vice president's address did not sit at all well with the Peace Progressives and the so-called "Radical" Columbians, but there was no remote chance of mounting a last-ditch challenge to the incumbent second-in-command. The speech, from its insinuation that the IWW was un-American to the assertion that war critics bore the responsibility of a potential U.S. defeat, seemed to indicate that the party was moving away from what it was meant to embody: a genuine alternative to the status quo. None of these statements would feel out-of-place at the Republican convention, but in some regards the internationalists, imperialists and jingoists in the Progressive ranks went even further than their GOP colleagues. Once Roosevelt and Johnson were each unanimously re-nominated on the first call and the universally respected incumbent delivered his brief acceptance message (one more in line with the party mainstream), the convention seemed to breathe a sigh of relief. "I only wish we saw then the writing on the wall," recounted Progressive activist and future Socialist official Harold L. Ickes. "By God, we should have seen it. What fools we were."

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Teddy goes mad with power and institutes mass surveillance of Americans with Canadian/British ties or sympathies? He could certainly start with Russian and Italian minorities...

Also a more serious prediction: I'm considering the possibility that maybe this timeline isn't heading towards the rise of an explicitly socialist administration, which has generally been my assumption, but is instead just moving the political climate steadily leftwards? This can be from general shifts in opinions, sure, but I was also thinking about the direction taken by constitutional law. For example, if Teddy appoints a supreme court nominee that has anti-trust progressive credentials, perhaps as a compromise to keep the small-p progressives on-side with his pro-war agenda, then some important SCOTUS decisions in the next few decades could turn in a direction that's more leftist.

For example, the doctrine of corporate personhood grew from being a matter of partial personhood, as regarding engaging in contracts, legal liability, etc, to gaining, effectively, personhood as applies to the Bill of Rights. Essentially:
  • In the introduction of the published summary of the ruling in Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Co. (1886), it was mentioned that the opinion of the judges was that the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause applies to corporations.
  • Through a series of cases in the ensuing decades, the SCOTUS began extending the equal protection clause to corporations. It's not clear to me when the earliest was, there's one I've found in 1910 for example, but these cases seem to rely additionally on the Commerce clause of the constitution. As late as 1891 the argument was that the commerce clause + equal protection protect corporations since natural persons are protected if they engage in interstate commerce through the formation of a corporation, and it's not clear to me (IANAL, TINLA, and I am not an expert in constitutional law) when the SCOTUS arguments actually became arguments on the basis of the corporations themselves being legal persons, rather than them simply being vehicles for the freedoms of the natural persons constituting them.
  • OTL the extension of the Bill of Rights to corporations also relied on the fact that the Bill of Rights has (largely) been enforced on the states through a process called incorporation. Through SCOTUS rulings, various amendements of the Bill of Rights have been steadily held to apply to the states, rather than solely to the federal government. The first of these rulings was Gitlow v. New York (1925) which held that the right to freedom of speech bound the states, and this carried on in the ensuing decades OTL.
  • I don't think it was until Citizens United and Burwell v Hobby Lobby that corporations were upheld to have the same rights as natural persons, but the early jurisprudence certainly left the door open.
But it didn't have to be this way:
  • A case in 1906 conclusively affirmed that introductions/syllabi to court decisions have no legal standing, and the original basis for corporate personhood, as I noted above, was in a note in the introduction, quoting one of the judges, true, but nonetheless lacking precedent.
  • The Reporter of Decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States, the person responsible for the text of the syllabus of a SCOTUS decision, and thus the person responsible for including or omitting quotations made outside the bounds of the court decision, was none other than JC Bancroft Davis, a former director of a railroad company, whose conflict of interest in reporting on a case involving a railroad company, and in his role in the matter of corporate personhood, has gone unresolved OTL.
  • I think a case could be made, based on these two facts, and before there's too much jurisprudence affirming the personhood of corporations, that the entire basis for corporate personhood has been based on unusable pretence and thus merits total reexamination.
  • Then, it would reasonably fall to the supreme court to define a distinction between corporate "personhood" and the personhood of natural persons. For example, you could make a case that corporations are "legal agents", which may act and have responsibilities under the law, but are not themselves people, with natural rights.
  • Freedom of association isn't enough of a defense for unrestricted corporations - first, freedom of association didn't exist as a concept until NAACP v Alabama, and second, it was defined and protected as the freedom to associate for political purposes, so one could easily imagine a scenario where any eventual decision about freedom of political association is then argued to prohibit the political engagement of any association which is not political in purpose, and moreover then that businesses cannot be used as vehicles of political opinion. One idea being, a political organization must be an expression of a shared political interest of its members, businesses cannot compel membership in a political organization as a criterion for employment (heck, this could even be the result of some guy suing his socialist boss XD!), and thus a business cannot operate in any way to express political opinion, or actively facilitate directed expression of political opinion. Incidentally, this effectively bans corporate lobbying, since they can't even pay lobbyists inflated salaries for the purpose of private expenditure on behalf of the corporation - a lobbyist could just waste the money or lobby for whatever they want, and then sue for unlawful dismissal when they're fired.
I was going to try and come up with some more ideas but I've spent far too long reading old court cases tonight and I need to sleep.
 
Teddy goes mad with power and institutes mass surveillance of Americans with Canadian/British ties or sympathies? He could certainly start with Russian and Italian minorities...

Also a more serious prediction: I'm considering the possibility that maybe this timeline isn't heading towards the rise of an explicitly socialist administration, which has generally been my assumption, but is instead just moving the political climate steadily leftwards? This can be from general shifts in opinions, sure, but I was also thinking about the direction taken by constitutional law. For example, if Teddy appoints a supreme court nominee that has anti-trust progressive credentials, perhaps as a compromise to keep the small-p progressives on-side with his pro-war agenda, then some important SCOTUS decisions in the next few decades could turn in a direction that's more leftist.

For example, the doctrine of corporate personhood grew from being a matter of partial personhood, as regarding engaging in contracts, legal liability, etc, to gaining, effectively, personhood as applies to the Bill of Rights. Essentially:
  • In the introduction of the published summary of the ruling in Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Co. (1886), it was mentioned that the opinion of the judges was that the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause applies to corporations.
  • Through a series of cases in the ensuing decades, the SCOTUS began extending the equal protection clause to corporations. It's not clear to me when the earliest was, there's one I've found in 1910 for example, but these cases seem to rely additionally on the Commerce clause of the constitution. As late as 1891 the argument was that the commerce clause + equal protection protect corporations since natural persons are protected if they engage in interstate commerce through the formation of a corporation, and it's not clear to me (IANAL, TINLA, and I am not an expert in constitutional law) when the SCOTUS arguments actually became arguments on the basis of the corporations themselves being legal persons, rather than them simply being vehicles for the freedoms of the natural persons constituting them.
  • OTL the extension of the Bill of Rights to corporations also relied on the fact that the Bill of Rights has (largely) been enforced on the states through a process called incorporation. Through SCOTUS rulings, various amendements of the Bill of Rights have been steadily held to apply to the states, rather than solely to the federal government. The first of these rulings was Gitlow v. New York (1925) which held that the right to freedom of speech bound the states, and this carried on in the ensuing decades OTL.
  • I don't think it was until Citizens United and Burwell v Hobby Lobby that corporations were upheld to have the same rights as natural persons, but the early jurisprudence certainly left the door open.
But it didn't have to be this way:
  • A case in 1906 conclusively affirmed that introductions/syllabi to court decisions have no legal standing, and the original basis for corporate personhood, as I noted above, was in a note in the introduction, quoting one of the judges, true, but nonetheless lacking precedent.
  • The Reporter of Decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States, the person responsible for the text of the syllabus of a SCOTUS decision, and thus the person responsible for including or omitting quotations made outside the bounds of the court decision, was none other than JC Bancroft Davis, a former director of a railroad company, whose conflict of interest in reporting on a case involving a railroad company, and in his role in the matter of corporate personhood, has gone unresolved OTL.
  • I think a case could be made, based on these two facts, and before there's too much jurisprudence affirming the personhood of corporations, that the entire basis for corporate personhood has been based on unusable pretence and thus merits total reexamination.
  • Then, it would reasonably fall to the supreme court to define a distinction between corporate "personhood" and the personhood of natural persons. For example, you could make a case that corporations are "legal agents", which may act and have responsibilities under the law, but are not themselves people, with natural rights.
  • Freedom of association isn't enough of a defense for unrestricted corporations - first, freedom of association didn't exist as a concept until NAACP v Alabama, and second, it was defined and protected as the freedom to associate for political purposes, so one could easily imagine a scenario where any eventual decision about freedom of political association is then argued to prohibit the political engagement of any association which is not political in purpose, and moreover then that businesses cannot be used as vehicles of political opinion. One idea being, a political organization must be an expression of a shared political interest of its members, businesses cannot compel membership in a political organization as a criterion for employment (heck, this could even be the result of some guy suing his socialist boss XD!), and thus a business cannot operate in any way to express political opinion, or actively facilitate directed expression of political opinion. Incidentally, this effectively bans corporate lobbying, since they can't even pay lobbyists inflated salaries for the purpose of private expenditure on behalf of the corporation - a lobbyist could just waste the money or lobby for whatever they want, and then sue for unlawful dismissal when they're fired.
I was going to try and come up with some more ideas but I've spent far too long reading old court cases tonight and I need to sleep.
Hmm, maybe! The courts are definitely further to the left than OTL, thanks to Hearst. SCOTUS will come up a little later in the TL.
 
Part 6: Chapter XXII - Page 145
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"The Reports of His Political Death Seem to Have Been Exaggerated," June 1916 - Source: NebraskaDotGov

As the general election kicked off, the prime domestic contention dominating headlines was that of permitting Roosevelt a third term. Much of America flatly disapproved of handing any president time in office beyond the traditional eight-year limit. That precedent was set by President George Washington over a hundred years ago with the fateful decision to restrict his reign, and every leader since had abided by that unwritten rule. Undaunted Progressives deemed it the incumbent's duty to continue leading the country through the nation's greatest war in a generation, where perceived belligerence from the Entente alliance required a worthy figure to fit the moment. The president's supporters championed this breaking of the two-term tradition as a sign of progress, though others feared it demonstrated the incumbent's kingly ambitions.

The presidential campaigns of John Weeks and William J. Bryan noted the third term issue as part of their respective stump speeches, especially the former. Weeks commonly dug into the president for his refusal to step aside and exclaimed horror at the precedent being set. Referencing the matter, he stated, "The United States is to represent democracy at home and defend it abroad. How are we meant to combat the old kings and queens of Europe if we ourselves condone imperial rule?" The included quote as derived from the Bay Stater was roughly as far as the Republican was willing to go, vaguely insinuating that Roosevelt sought royalty (indeed his closest campaign advisor, Frederick Gillett, once named the president "King Theodore the First" at the 1908 national convention). Both within and beyond the Republican Party proper, concerned political obsessives sympathized with Weeks' argument.

One such obsessive was Bavarian-born saloonkeeper John Flammang Schrank. According to his journals, Schrank believed himself haunted, controlled by an other-worldly force to prevent a power-hungry administration from clenching onto the Executive Branch. Theodore Roosevelt personified unmitigated tyranny in his disoriented mind. The saloonkeeper’s writings detailed a vivid dream in which the ghost of Albert Beveridge appeared and demanded Roosevelt be put to death as punishment for soiling his legacy and shattering his party. Schrank apparently internalized that dream as well as the notion of Roosevelt as an endlessly ambitious Napoleonic figure. On July 30th he tracked the president down at an Annapolis campaign stop, approached him, aimed, and fired off a shot. The bullet struck. It lodged itself in the leader's left shoulder and, as if fate itself intervened, its path did not penetrate any vital organs.

Schrank was immediately captured and arrested, while Roosevelt shockingly returned to his feet. Determining that the attack was non-lethal, the president initially rejected medical assistance, but soon surrendered to the wishes of the secret service. Thereafter, doctors confirmed Roosevelt's suspicions that the wound would not kill him, and that leaving the bullet in place posed less of a threat to the president's life than a removal attempt. That notwithstanding, the Rough Rider was forcibly taken away from his national tour: A detrimental prospect for any presidential campaign. Out of respect for the incumbent, Bryan and Weeks temporarily suspended their campaigns until the incumbent was fit to return to the trail.

For Bryan, the shared decision to depart from the speaking circuit did not dampen his presidential hopes. It is true to assert that both the Democratic and Progressive nominees performed best before large crowds, but the former had already accumulated an astounding degree of momentum. His trailblazing from state to state drove up interest in the Democratic platform and ignited a newfound sense of fondness for the former president. Nostalgia for Bryan's classic, nineteenth-century morals and vision for an enlightened tomorrow went hand-in-hand with a collective desire to return to brighter days. Sorrowful war news underscored the Nebraskan's pledge to revert the damage done to the American way of life, and fear of an imminent attack by the Japanese Navy made scores of otherwise fervently patriotic citizens give Bryan a second glance. The only demographics firmly opposed to the Democratic challenger by July were Socialist-leaning industrial workers, the ultra-wealthy, and immigrant communities which remained determined to defeat the Entente: German-Americans, Austro-Hungarians, those of the Jewish faith, and, perhaps most of all, the Irish.


Thousands of Irish enlisted in the British war effort and paid the ultimate price for it. "Defend Belgium from Subjugation," they were told, with ne'er a thought spared for the subjugation in their own backyard. Surely the British Administration ought to hold up its end of the bargain, surviving Irish volunteers thought, but two years now passed since the dawn of the Great War and Home Rule was nowhere to be found. Audacious rebels under the authority of the Irish Republican Brotherhood and its commanding activists, Patrick Pearse and James Connolly, aimed at the heart of the Empire and set their sights for independence that April. "Starting thus," said Connolly, "Ireland may yet set the torch to a European conflagration that will not burn out until the last throne and the last capitalist bond and debenture will be shriveled on the funeral pyre of the last warlord." Smuggled weaponry and war materiel from Germany and the United States assisted in the mobilization but the response was far quicker and deadlier than any dared to guess. Britain reacted with such ire it was as if Pearse and Connolly threatened King George himself. Dublin was razed and civilians and freedom fighters alike were massacred. Suspected rebels were indefinitely detained without trial. Martial law thenceforth reigned across the country. That is the story of the Easter Rising.
Benjamin McIntyre, "The Long Death of Imperialism," The Resistance, 2013

Americans of Irish descent were in 1916 likely more loyal to the Progressive Party and President Roosevelt than any other ethnic group. Irish Americans generally voiced favor for the Democratic candidate in federal elections, as was traditionally the case in cities with large Irish populations like New York and Boston. With this election, however, due to Bryan's implied support of an armistice, they turned almost uniformly away from the alleged "British sympathizing" Democrats. The Easter Rising validated Roosevelt's rhetoric that suggested an inherent evil in the British Empire (a concept he first coined at the sinking of the Yellow Rose), and it too confirmed his theory that Britain would defend its holdings to the very last man. If he meant to win this war, the Commander-in-Chief needed an evolution in strategy. From the time of the Progressive Party nominating convention, the Roosevelt administration openly admitted its monumentally consequential shift in naval priorities.

The defeat of the Pacific Fleet in the South China Sea drove the president somewhat mad. He read over engagement documents incessantly in the aftermath of the Allied assault but could not conceive of any other outcome than the one which was carried out. While winning that battle may have been impossible, it was not too late to react accordingly. The Royal Navy, now more than ever, intently focused on pure dominance and might over speed, agility, and strength of numbers. Lloyd George sponsored the creation of dozens more battleships and battlecruisers upon taking over from Asquith (sharply reducing production in other areas), meaning their cards were all on the table. Several coal-burning and oil-burning battleships did indeed join the Atlantic Fleet and were of notable consequence in some mid-war naval battles, but these factors were not destined to be a catalyst in the greater tide of war.

President Roosevelt, Admirals Sims and Knight, and other high-ranking U.S. military strategists, knowing full well the impossibility of outmatching the Entente in terms of raw power, put their resources into modern destroyers. Prevailing in the seas counted on defeating not just the dreadnaughts, but the submarines. Therefore, the U.S. directed a large portion of naval construction funds into long-endurance warships: Building and completing hundreds instead of prioritizing a mere half dozen or so dreadnaughts (Although, as a side note, the U.S. did introduce a handful of new battlecruisers in 1916). These destroyers, traveling in a newly instituted convoy system, effectively challenged the British submarine assaults as well as some of their mightier ships. With depth charges, U.S. destroyers - affectionately dubbed the "Sub Hunters" in contemporaneous war serials and American popular culture - forced undersea vessels to the surface. From that point, an all-out gunfight would end it. Dozens of British submarines encircling the Caribbean thereby faced certain doom as a consequence for their merchant hunting endeavors.

This sneaky tactic was formed in coordination with German High Command who simultaneously fostered a reorganization of their own. Mutual planning immeasurably assisted the two de facto military allies, so much so that each side sunk finances into developing a communication link that totally sidestepped standard Atlantic cables. Generals Pershing and Erich von Falkenhayn lettered one another on numerous occasions and openly discussed workable scenarios and construction schedules. This solidified relations and unified trust to the point that the Kaiser wrote Roosevelt the 1910s equivalent to a "Get Well Soon" letter upon learning of the attempt on his life. Military historians have since credited this development for Falkenhayn's decision to fake-out French forces at the Fort de Souville during the Battle of Verdun. Believing the Germans on their doorstep, French machine-gunners exited the fortification and prepared to counter-attack. Instead of German platoons, the infantry was greeted with an explosive barrage of artillery. Falkenhayn's men took Souville on July 15th with minor (comparative) losses and pressed onward ever closer to Verdun.
 
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Well, Teddy probably gotten a boost and now it would be time for them to settle them and play the long game with against the Entente. This should be interesting, especially as this will stretch out the British forces. Russia would still have their Febuary Revolution and if some sort of Summer offense or so on fails, he would have an October one. Regarduless, 1917 would likely still Russia leave the Entente and thus, putting France and the British in serious trouble.
 
Part 6: Chapter XXII - Page 146
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The Friedrichshafen G.II, the Inspiration for the U.S. Curtiss B1-Eagle Aircraft - Source: Wiki Commons

September saw the unfolding of an entirely redesigned, twisted chapter in the war. Amid the election, President Roosevelt put into action the North American Autumnal Offensive. Residual pain from Schrank's bullet largely restrained the Progressive hero to the White House for the duration of August, but in that time he oversaw the completion of all preparations needed to embark on the next evolution of "lightning war." Modeled after the successful initial push into Canada though transformed with the latest technological advancements and military intelligence, the Autumnal Offensive incorporated Atlantic Sub Hunters, the often-undercounted Great Lakes fleet, modified tractors for use as prototypical armored vehicles, and, most significantly, air power.

The U.S. previously invested the lion's share of its military funding into munitions, artillery, and naval projects, thus playing the Entente's game by their rules whilst not recognizing the innate advantage of open skies. Fighter-class air units were present to a meager extent on either side of the Northern Front, but the British were not keen on shipping additional planes to North America with calamity shadowing over a battered Europe. Upon witnessing the course of modern warfare in the European theater, particularly the effectiveness of German zeppelin raids, U.S. observers in 1915 reported to their superiors the pivotal importance of air superiority. If implemented correctly, the United States military could possess an unmitigated advantage in the air, both in terms of raw numbers and technical supremacy. Secretary Meyer oversaw the aviation transition team (including the pilot training program) and signed off on federally mandated orders to U.S. automobile and airplane manufacturers for an expeditious adjustment in mass production. Congress readily appropriated over half a billion to war-related manufacturing at the start of their December 1915 session, and an appreciable chunk of those funds carried over to aviation. By October, the United States flew over 2,200 planes and planned a minimum reinforcement rate of 1,750 per month by 1917 - easily outpacing operational British air units in Canada.

Roosevelt's assailment initiated with the launch of an aviation-centric bombing wave on British-Canadian lines on September 23rd. The scourge was relentless. Wave upon wave of twin-engine bombers descended on the Northern Front and ramped up the bloodshed to amounts unseen since the shock strike on the U.S.-Canada border. Pilots under the command of Rear Admiral Bradley A. Fiske struck hard and fast, never discriminating soldier versus civilian. These heavier-than-air vehicles were equipped with state-of-the-art gun and bombsights to allow for better aim, in addition to radio communication devices and synchronization gear. Some fell in due course from anti-air artillery, but an overwhelming majority survived, nailed their intended targets, and blew apart Entente trench fortifications. Aircraft was no longer limited to serving as observational tools, now they outshined even the most hardened infantrymen. During breaks in-between raids, named "Eclipse" periods, American divisions as accompanied by crude armored tractors and naval support were given the green-light to advance, and miles of land was won at a time. The pure numerical difference of division width was essential, but the advance may have been constrained if not for each cog of the offensive turning in efficient succession.

Gains made by the United States at the Northern Front in the mere three-week span of the Autumnal Offensive far excelled any other that year. Literally blasted apart like dynamite, Canadian field soldiers fell back to Ottawa on October 20th, all but abandoning the Ontario bank of the St. Lawrence River apart from easternmost towns bordering Quebec. Morale plummeted to its lowest yet in Canada, as the stoppage of British imports and endless U.S. raids chipped away at civilian willpower to hold out through the storm. The severing of trade routes earlier that year meant utter catastrophe for average working people in non-Quebecois provinces. Statistics show a similar scene to that of 1914-1915 Germany with childhood hunger on the rise and an increasingly rapid spread of disease in heavily populated cities. Toronto and Winnipeg lied firmly in the grip of the United States, the Vancouver suburbs struggled to hold off endlessly-replenishable offensive armies, and now it appeared Ottawa would fall. U.S. leadership viewed this scene play out through the narrow scope of war games, paying no mind to the suffering of Canadians. This perspective was perfectly encapsulated by the words of General Pershing when he wrote to Roosevelt, "Montréal will soon fly the stars and stripes. Freedom is on the march."

Rumors stirred by late October that the British High Command was seriously considering downsizing its participation on the Northern Front in order to triage a teetering landscape much closer to home. Lloyd George said nothing aloud and wrote nothing concrete, thus thwarting the risk of disintegration on the Western Front, but even national militarists like himself could not deny reality. He exhausted British manpower and locked Australian and New Zealander armies in the European trenches. His nation's singular best asset in times of overseas conflict, the Royal Navy, was plainly not enough to win the battle for North America. Salvaging Europe looked to be the safest option for long-term British economic and imperial longevity. Furthermore, the Autumnal Offensive and subsequent whispers of a British retreat made the all-too bullish Japanese military think twice about embarking on an invasion of Western North America. If the British were not present to provide extensive assistance, the game was over before it had started. Japanese forces, thereafter, would proceed no further than the Hawaiian Islands, where a rebuffed U.S. Pacific Fleet stuck a cork in their plans to overwhelm the territory. As one may imagine, this dramatically alleviated American fears.

This most recent fundamental change in the dynamic of the armed conflict equally altered the shape of the election. Electoral forecasts to this point predicted an easy win, bordering a thoroughbred landslide, for former President Bryan. The Democratic nominee was set up to receive an electoral majority on a silver platter. The Progressive-affiliated press dove at Bryan with the same strategy used against Hearst, that of comparing domestic achievements and warning the public of vitriolic demagoguery, and in that realm occasionally printing the cautionary words of patriotic and duty-bound conservatives like New York Supreme Court Justice Alton Parker to prove their point, but the polls had not budged. Now the situation seemed pliable. In examining political polling from July versus October, it is readily apparent that the Bryan Campaign lost substantial ground among middle-class voters and easily impressionable swing demographics. The Nebraskan's incessant preaching of an alternate war tactic failed to impress in conjunction with the undisputed victories taking place as the front. Roosevelt was naturally trusted on this issue, and Bryan was not.


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Roosevelt's support strengthened considerably at the expense of Weeks and Bryan, and the same was true for Seidel of the Socialist Party. The Milwaukee mayor retained not only Debs' 1912 foundation of radicalized industrial workers and members of the Industrial Workers of the World, but spectacularly merged components of the pacifism movement left high and dry by Bryan. The Seidel Campaign and the leadership of the SP performed such an unprecedented stunt over the course of the election season, and it all happened to piece together before November. Signaling the wider affiliation of Socialism and opposition to the war, critique typically reserved for the Democratic Party was now laid at the doorstep of Seidel and the Socialists. Spanish-American War veteran and Congressman Sydney Anderson (P-MN) went on the record lambasting Seidel ahead of the election and called for his imprisonment for hindering the U.S. war effort. "Peace can only be achieved with victory," he announced, "...even a god-forsaken Democrat like Bryan knows it."

Prideful [Progressive politicians], once claiming to represent a future free from capitalist consolidation and oligarchic government, emerged as the greatest political threat to the homegrown working class in a generation. Theodore Roosevelt, the living titanic spirit of nationalism, saluted departing soldiers as they marched off to the trenches of Canada. Defending the Columbian Beacon for Progress in one voice whilst denouncing freedom of expression and calling for its suspension in another, the administration never disguised its bloodlust nor limitless disdain for criticism. Roosevelt was for war and Bryan was for a softer, kindler war. Neither opposed it. Seidel did.
American Socialists were in 1916 hardwired to oppose the systematic and outright criminal slaughter of the World War on humanitarian grounds and in recognition of the class dimension of capitalist war. Seidel's presidential campaign joined with the League of Conscientious Objectors in condemning the Conscription Law as the ultimate, reactionary degradation of human civilization, and together provided the backbone for the protests to come. Seidel manufactured his base among all men and women desirous of a people's peace, and in that cultivated a barrier-shattering buildup of the Socialist Movement.
Louis Waldman, "What I Saw At Dawn: A Eulogy for Emil Seidel," New York Worker's Journal, 1947
 
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Well, that's pretty interesting there. Meanwhile, I imagine now that the US will invest heavily in aerial superiority, especially use the Wright brothers as part of American patrioticism and so on. I imagine also there wil be trying to create the firt aircraft carriers for the US to turn the tides in the Pacific theater...
 
Part 6: Chapter XXII - Page 147
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Bryan and Wilson on the Campaign Trail, November 1916 - Source: LoC

Time was running out for the candidates to issue their final pleas to the public. Polling looked bleaker by the day for non-Progressive contenders, though Bryan ignored that shift and chose to stay on-message. He nipped at the heels of the incumbent in a last-second blitz of the Industrial Midwest alongside Democratic officeholders in those states. From his perspective, the party must win united in the pursuit of ridding the country of its Rough Rider warlord and his foul jingoism, or else defeat was guaranteed. Bryan was therefore pleased with his cross-endorsement by the Prohibition Party earlier that summer, proof that the Democratic tent was capable of an outward expansion. This also awarded the Democratic contender a monumental ally in former Governor Frank Hanley (Pro-IN), a mainstay in Hoosier politics. Bryan shared a stage with men like Hanly in addition to prominent Democrats, and that won him substantial respect in socially conservative circles. John Weeks, on the other end of the traditional party dichotomy, allowed his surrogates to speak on his behalf. Weeks' alleged sympathies for the Atlanticists made him a popular option with the Eastern establishment, but he secured virtually no support elsewhere. Those who opposed his nomination now refused to work to see him elected, including Lodge and Fairbanks who quietly lent use of their office staff to the Roosevelt Campaign.

President Roosevelt significantly limited his time on the campaign trail despite the apparent closeness of the race. His campaign operation may have treated the contest as if their nominee was still ten points behind the Democrat, but the incumbent halted personalized canvassing in the final stretch, citing undeviating oversight of the war as an excuse. This may have been a ploy to make the war leader appear more presidential, however the truth of the matter was that he remained in a state of cascading residual pain from the assassination attempt in August. In the president's stead, Vice President Johnson toured much of the country and espoused the promise of a future prosperity. Following the Independence Day Convention in New York, the Progressives neglected domestic issues in favor of showy Americanism, and their attacks on Bryan and Weeks preached supremely important foreign policy differences. "Bryan Trumpeted Peace from his Golden Cross. Roosevelt Fought and Bled for Peace at San Juan Hill," read a pro-Columbian advertisement referring to the Spanish-American War. To some effect, the Roosevelt Campaign tackled its Democratic opposition from a strikingly similar angle as Beveridge in 1900. Back then, debate revolved around imperialism vs. anti-imperialism, or, in the terms of Bryan, "plutocracy and democracy." Patriotism, economic opportunity, and empire were in 1916 once again dominant issues in the political zeitgeist.

The Socialist nominee concluded his campaign in his home town of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to an adoring crowd awaiting his arrival. Seidel knew that like Haywood and Debs before him, a genuine majority vote victory was highly unlikely. Yet a newfound spirit was in the air, a feeling that the anti-war movement had synthesized disparate forces that otherwise would never have voted his way. Former Progressive lobbyist and attorney Amos Pinchot, brother to the reformist Pennsylvanian senator Gifford Pinchot, famously broke with the Columbians and expressed support for the Seidel Campaign. "I am wary of Socialism," he stated, "but the Milwaukeean is an honest man, has a progressive mayoral record, will defend the rights of workers, and opposes the carrying out of this war." Men like Pinchot who were active in the creation of the Progressive Party in 1904 lost their love for the organization they now viewed as feckless and mindlessly infatuated with empire building. The Socialists and their credibility on the war issue had finally led to mainstream respectability unlike ever before. Whether this was enough to propel the workers' party to a position of power was not yet determined.

This election, aside from the third term issue and the varied economic and social perspectives offered by the assorted aspirants, squarely narrowed down to the question of active participation in the Great War. A rejection of the titan of American political culture meant a fundamental change in the United States' foreign affairs, whether it be Bryan's alternative strategy, Weeks' proposed distancing from the Central Powers, or Seidel's call for an immediate peace at any price. Each represented a defining and unique pathway branched off of the status quo, yet these substitute courses were equal parts mysterious and thrilling. The stakes were high, and arguably higher than any balloting since 1900. The people of the United States would once more cast their judgement on the direction of the country, but now that decision could potentially affect the national makeup of the entire planet. European powers glanced Westward and held their collective breath on November 7th.

When the results began pouring in on Election Day, Literary Digest editors were relieved to find that their latest model appeared more accurate than any of their competitors'. In other words, Roosevelt and Bryan were sparring on a leveled playing field. The Literary Digest won a reputation by this point of providing the most precise gauge of public opinion out of any pollster, and in 1916 that held true just the same. Its October poll found Weeks with a distant third place electoral finish. That finding suggested a nightmare scenario for the Republican Party: A replication of the 1904 Chauncey Depew campaign. This election's final product, however, presented the GOP with an outcome that made the party long for the days of Depew and Knox. Weeks' favorability was proven to be all but nonexistent outside of the strongest of strongholds for his aging party. He carried Vermont, Connecticut, and Rhode Island for a grand total of 16 Electoral Votes. Rhode Island was the closest of the three, won by Weeks by 45% of the vote. The 1916 Republican Party performance would go down as the worst ever for a mainline presidential candidate.

New England's shift from unquestioned Republican dominance mainly pertained to the war. Atlanticists in these areas voted Weeks, but the middle-class pro-intervention vote (a demographic that voted overwhelmingly for Albert Beveridge in 1900) was picked up decisively by President Roosevelt. The incumbent did best in five key categories: Interventionists/Preparedness advocates, men over the age of 45, non-unionized workers, Western European immigrants, and women. That last constituency was not able to vote in all 48 states per the lack of universal suffrage, but 18 states allowed women voting rights through state law. As such, raw ballot totals in suffrage states like Illinois and Nevada far exceeded previous figures, and in 1916 women favored Roosevelt over the field. Seidel was up to par in this demographic as well, but a majority of voting women, particularly in the middle and upper classes, believed the Progressive Party spoke to women's issues more so than other factions. Indeed, despite Democrats, Republicans, and Progressives all expressing support for suffrage in their national platforms, only the latter forced the 1913 Constitutional amendment resolution in Congress.

Accompanied by these advantages, Roosevelt discovered unexpected triumphs in New Hampshire and Massachusetts (Weeks' home state). Maine confidently navigated itself to the Columbian column with a commanding 47% of the vote. This breakthrough was momentous for the Progressives, a party that several months ago some analysts considered at death's door, but it would not be the last this cycle. "Election data in New York County," wrote author Gene Sharov in "Election Analysis Series: 1916",
"tells us that turnout was higher in precincts that leaned Progressive in 1912 and 1908. Democratic turnout was up from its woeful 1912 low. Republican districts voted overwhelmingly Progressive on the federal level. Bryan won the county by roughly 40-45%, in addition to Queens County, Kings County, and several others upstate. Weeks won four border counties with higher Canadian-American populations. Seidel did not win any counties, though he finished in second place in Bronx and Schenectady counties, and third place in twenty-six other counties. Roosevelt won the remaining counties as well as the state. Roosevelt 40%, Bryan 33%, Seidel 17%, Weeks 10%."
 
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