United States Elections: Presidential Elections (1916)


Figure 1.--The Boy Scouts were aplotical, but presidebtial candidates loved to be photographed with them even at gthis early point. Former President Roosevelt's Bull Moose supporters wanted him to run again in 1916. Roosevelt realised, however, that he had no chance of success. His Bull Moose campaign in 1912 had alienated too many Republican Party loyalists to be able to win the nomination in 1916. Had Roosevelt not bolted the Party in 1912, he almost certainly would have been nominated in 1916 and would probably have defeated President Wilson. Roosevelt was very popular wih Scouts. Here he is reveiwing Boy Scouts at Sagamore Hill. The press caption read, "Scouts massed before the Colonel's home at Oyster Hill on May 13, 1916 just befire the Republican Convention.

The Democrats renominated President Wilson and Vice President Marshall without any real opposition at the St. Louis convention (June). President Wilson's policy of keeping America out of the War while suceeding in convincing Germany to refrain from unrestricted submarine warfare. Former President Roosevelt's Bull Moose supporters wanted him to run again, but Roosevelt realised he had not chance of success, not could he now gain the Republican nomination. His Bull Moose campaign in 1912 had alienated too many Republican Party loyalists. Had Roosevelt not bolted the Party in 1912, he almost certainly would have been bominated in 1916. The Republicans instead nominated the respected Supreme Court Associate Justice Charles Evans Hughes. Thet also nominated Charles W. Fairbanks for vice presudent. Faiurbanks had been Roosevelt's vicepresident. President Wilson's reelection was by no means certain. Since the Civil War, Wilson was one of only two successful Democratic candidates and unlike 1912 there was no third party spliting the Republicans. Former President Roosevelt campaign strongly for Hughes, in part to restore his status in the Republican Party, The Democrats adopted the slogan, "He kept us out of war." Wilson was uncomfortable about this as he was not at all certain that he could continue to keep America out of the War and in fact within months would sign a declaration of war. This was the decisive issue in the campaign. Hughes held view similar to Wilson, but came to be seen as the war candidate. This was primaroily because of Roosevelt criss-crossing the country and speaking in support of Hughes. Roosevelt' belicose speeches, however, left the impression that Hughes would lead America into the War. The former president was still very popular and his speeches given considerable attention in the press. The election in the end was very close. Many historians believe that Roosevelt's belicose speeches leaving the impression that Hughes was a pro-war candidate probably cost him the election. The election was held before Germany resumed unrestricted submarine warfare and the Zimmerman Telegram fiasco. Most Americans in 1916 were oppsed to entering the War. The election was settled in California which went Democratic by a mere 4,000 votes.

World War I

The issue whch hovered over the 1916 presidential election was World war I in Europe. The War had been rageing in Europe for 2 years at enormous cost of men and material and there was no end in site. Americans after the German invasion of Belgium (1914) and sinking of the Lusitania favored the Allies, but wanted no part of the War. The Germans were increasingly viewing America with hostility. Royal Navy control of the Atlantic meant that Britain and France could obtain war material and American banks made war loans. The issus, however, would not come to a head until after the electiin in 1917.

Democratic Convention

The Democrats renominated President Wilson and Vice President Marshall without any real opposition at the St. Louis convention (June). President Wilson's policy of keeping America out of the War while suceeding in convincing Germany to refrain from unrestricted submarine warfare.

Republican Convention

Former President Roosevelt's Bull Moose supporters wanted him to run again in 1916. Roosevelt realised, however, that he had no chance of success. His Bull Moose campaign in 1912 had alienated too many Republican Party loyalists to be able to win the nomination in 1916. Had Roosevelt not bolted the Party in 1912, he almost certainly would have been nominated in 1916 and would probably have defeated President Wilson. Roosevelt calcular=ted that if the Republicans failed in 1916, by mending febces he could run again in 1920. Several candidates vied for the nomination. Two of the most prominnt were conservative Senator Elihu Root of New York and liberal Senator John W. Weeks of Massachusetts. The party's bosses wee intent on healing the devisive split of 1912. As 1912 shiwed, the candidate was still selecected by the Party bosses. There were only a fe primries. The bosses wanted a moderate who would be acceptable to both noth the conservtive and liberal wing of the Party. They thus turned to Supreme Court Justice Charles Evans Hughes who had been serving on the Court since 1910, nominted by President Taft. He had not been actively seeking the nomination n the run up to the Convention. He had not been active politically since he became a justice and this was npt involved in the 1912 debacle. Hughes made it clearv that he would not turn it down. He w nominated on the third ballot. Senator Warren G. Harding is coined the now wudelybused phrased, 'Founding Fathers' during his keynote address. The Convention then nominated Charles W. Fairbanks for vice presudent. Faiurbanks had been Roosevelt's vice-president.

Campaign

President Wilson's reelection was by no means certain. Since the Civil War, Wilson was one of only two successful Democratic candidates and unlike 1912 there was no third party spliting the Republicans. Former President Roosevelt campaign strongly for Hughes, in part to restore his status in the Republican Party, The Democrats adopted the slogan, "He kept us out of war." Wilson was uncomfortable about this as he was not at all certain that he could continue to keep America out of the War and in fact within months would sign a declaration of war. This was the decisive issue in the campaign. Hughes held view similar to Wilson, but came to be seen as the war candidate. This was primarily because of Roosevelt criss-crossing the country and speaking in support of Hughes. Roosevelt' belicose speeches, however, left the impression that Hughes would lead America into the War. The former president was still very popular and his speeches given considerable attention in the press.

Presidential Results

The election in the end was very close. Many historians believe that Roosevelt's belicose speeches leaving the impression that Hughes was a pro-war candidate probably cost him the election. The election was held before Germany resumed unrestricted submarine warfare and the Zimmerman Telegram fiasco. Most Americans in 1916 were oppsed to entering the War. The election was settled in California which went Democratic by a mere 4,000 votes.

Congressional Elections


American Entry into World War I

American President Woodrow Wilson camaigned for re-election in 1916 with the slgan "He kept us out of war". America at various points tried to negotiate an end to the War. Wilson in a 1917 speech called for a "peace without victory". None of the major European combatants showed much interest in the American efforts. The Britsh were still hopeful that America would join the Allies. Kaiser Wilhelm dimissed Wilson's efforts as unrealistic. The Germans seriously under estimated the potential impact of American involvement and failed to recognize the full consequences of American entry into the War. The German military were convinced that with the empending collapse of the Russian Eastern Front that they could force a decission on the Western Front. Military commanders convinced Kaiser Wilhelm to resume unrestricted sunmarine warfare. After German U-boats sank five American merchant vessels, President Wilson on asked Congress to Declare War on Germany which was approved April 6. Historians speculate as to Wilson's motives. The German decession to resume unrestricted submarine warfare not to mention the Zimmerman telegram proved to be a disastrous German miscalculation. The unrestricted U-boat campaign gained Germany very little. The American and Britsh Navies introduced a convoy system and defeated the U-boat campaign. The collapse of Russia in late 1917 and peace treaty forced upon the Bolsevicks in 1918 enabled the Germans to transfer powerful forces to the Wesern Front. By the tinme they were able to launch their offensive, an American Army of over a million men awaited them in the Allied trenches. Without the arrival of the Americans, it is likely that the Germans would have reached Paris and forced an end to the War. German General Ludendorff was to say after the War that it was the arrival of the American infantry that was the decisive factor on the Western Front.

Janet Rankin (1880-1973)

Montana voters elected Republican Janet Rankin to the House of Representativesn. This made her the first woman elected to Congress. This was 4 years before the ratification of the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote. (Some States acted before the Federal Government.) She was 1 of 50 Congressmen to vote against declaring war and entering World War I (1917). She became a leading pacifist and joined the isolationists who opposed President Roosevelt's efforts to oppose the Fascists in Europe and Japanese militarists in Asia. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, she cast the onlt descenting voice against entering Wold War II (1941). She helped organize resistance to the Vietnam War (1960s).







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Created: 5:24 AM 2/14/2007
Last updated: 11:04 AM 4/19/2012