History 416


September 6, 2005



I. Progressivism

            1. Transformation of American Society (Gilded Age: economics, race, politics; imperialism and foreign policy)

            2. Progressive Era Dawns (judiciary and economic reform; progressive society)

3. Nature of Progressivism (anti-monopolism, social reform, internal cohesion)


II. The Dilemmas of William Howard Taft

1. Taft and the Party System (Taft, TR, and 1908—addressing TR’s legacy; Taft and Midwestern progressives—La Follette, Norris and unseating of Speaker Cannon; presidential image—anti-trust prosecutions, Standard Oil decision, WHT and big business; splitting the party—Canadian tariff, Ballinger/Pinchot)

2. The Law and Progressive Foreign Policy (Platt Amendment and Cuba; Panama Canal, interpreting the Bidlack’s Treaty, and executive unilateralism; emergence of international law; Lake Mohonk Conferences; international law and The Hague; limits of vision—2nd Venezuela crisis; protectorate by executive authority?—Dominican Republic and customs receivership; Bacon, Rayner dissents; Taft, Dollar Diplomacy, and non-recognition; Nicaraguan controversy; Mexico and Taft pro-business image)


III. The Election of 1912

            1. Technicalities (consensus and parties—GOP ideological divisions, financial divisions, regional divisions; Democrats—regional divisions, legacy of Civil War, growth of Northeastern wing of party; primaries and caucus/convention system; Republicans and Southern delegations; Democrats and 2/3 rule)

            2. Issues (New Freedom vs. New Nationalism; how to interpret Taft?; how to interpret Debs?; how to interpret La Follette?; grassroots activism vs. political contest)

            3. Outcome (failure of La Follette challenge and limits of left-wing progressivism; failure of Roosevelt challenge and limits of popular progressivism; explaining TR and WHT decisionmaking; Bull Moose and Wilson nomination; 1912 contest; congressional races)

4. How to Interpret? (turning point; continuation; end of reform?: issue of position of Progressive Party)