1908 United States presidential election

Last updated

1908 United States presidential election
Flag of the United States (1908-1912).svg
  1904 November 3, 1908 1912  

483 members of the Electoral College
242 electoral votes needed to win
Turnout65.4% [1] Increase2.svg 0.2 pp
  William Howard Taft, Bain bw photo portrait, 1908.jpg Unsuccessful 1908.jpg
Nominee William Howard Taft William Jennings Bryan
Party Republican Democratic
Home state Ohio Nebraska
Running mate James S. Sherman John W. Kern
Electoral vote321162
States carried2917
Popular vote7,678,3956,408,984
Percentage51.6%43.1%

ElectoralCollege1908.svg
Presidential election results map. Red denotes those won by Taft/Sherman, blue denotes states won by Bryan/Kern. Numbers indicate the number of electoral votes allotted to each state.

President before election

Theodore Roosevelt
Republican

Elected President

William Howard Taft
Republican

The 1908 United States presidential election was the 31st quadrennial presidential election, held on Tuesday, November 3, 1908. Secretary of War and Republican Party nominee William Howard Taft defeated three-time Democratic nominee William Jennings Bryan.

Contents

Popular incumbent President Theodore Roosevelt honored his promise not to seek a third term, and persuaded his close friend, Taft, to become his successor. With Roosevelt's support, Taft won the presidential nomination of the 1908 Republican National Convention on the first ballot. Having lost the 1904 election badly, the Democratic Party re-nominated Bryan, who had been defeated in 1896 and 1900 by Republican William McKinley. Despite his two previous defeats and the waning of the Free Silver issue, Bryan remained extremely popular among the more liberal and populist elements of the Democratic Party.

Bryan ran a vigorous campaign against the nation's business elite, but the Democrat suffered the worst loss of his three presidential campaigns in the popular vote, as well as his worst defeat in terms of the electoral vote percentage. Taft won 51.6% of the popular vote and carried most states outside of the Solid South. Taft's triumph gave Republicans their fourth straight presidential election victory. Two third-party candidates, Eugene V. Debs of the Socialist Party and Eugene W. Chafin of the Prohibition Party, each took over 1% of the popular vote.

Nominations

Republican Party nomination

Nominees

Republican Party (United States) Republican Disc.png
Republican Party (United States)
1908 Republican Party ticket
William Howard Taft James S. Sherman
for Presidentfor Vice President
William Howard Taft 1909b.jpg
James Schoolcraft Sherman.jpg
42nd
U.S. Secretary of War
(1904–1908)
U.S. Representative
for New York's 27th
(1903–1909)
1908RepublicanPoster.png

Candidates

Candidates in this section are sorted by delegates won
William H. Taft Philander C. Knox Charles E. Hughes Joseph G. Cannon Charles W. Fairbanks Robert M. La Follette Joseph B. Foraker Leslie M. Shaw
William Howard Taft cph.3b35813.jpg
Philander Knox, bw photo portrait, 1904.jpg
Charles Evans Hughes cph.3a02236.jpg
Joseph "Joe" G. Cannon, bust portrait, with cigar in his mouth LCCN2016651346.tiff
Charles W Fairbanks by Harris & Ewing (cropped 3x4).jpg
Robert M. La Follette Sr. cph.3b16031.jpg
Joseph Benson Foraker.jpg
Leslie Shaw, Bain photo portrait.jpg
42nd U.S. Secretary of War
from Ohio
(1904–1908)
44th U.S. Attorney General
from Pennsylvania
(1901–1904)
36th Governor
of New York
(1907–1910)
35th House Speaker
from Illinois
(1903–1911)
26th U.S. Vice President
from Indiana
(1905–1909)
U.S. Senator
from Wisconsin
(1906–1925)
U.S. Senator
from Ohio
(1897–1909)
43rd U.S. Secretary of the Treasury
from Iowa
(1902–1907)
Delegates: 549 [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] Delegates: 67 [2] [6] Delegates: 54 [2] [6] Delegates: 46 [2] [6] Delegates: 32 [2] [6] Delegates: 25 [2] [6] Delegates: 5 [2] [7] [6] Delegates: 0 [2]
Campaign Campaign Campaign

The Republican nomination contest marked the introduction of the presidential preference primary. The idea of the primary to nominate candidates was sponsored by anti-machine politicians such as New York Governor Charles Evans Hughes and Senator Albert B. Cummins. The first state to hold a presidential primary to select delegates to a national convention was Florida in 1904, when Democratic Party voters held a primary among uninstructed candidates for delegate. Early in 1908, the only two Republican contenders running nationwide campaigns for the presidential nomination were Secretary of War William Howard Taft and Governor Joseph B. Foraker, both of Ohio. In the nomination contest, four states held primaries to select national convention delegates. In Ohio, the state Republican Party held a primary on February 11. Candidates pledged to Taft were printed on the ballot in a Taft column, and candidates pledged to Foraker were printed in a column under his name. Taft won a resounding victory in Ohio. The three states holding primaries to select delegates without the preference component were split: California chose a slate of delegates that supported Taft; Wisconsin elected a slate that supported Wisconsin Senator Robert M. La Follette, Sr., and Pennsylvania elected a slate that supported its Senator Philander C. Knox.

The 1908 Republican Convention was held in Chicago between June 16 and 19. William Howard Taft was nominated with 702 votes to 68 for Knox, 67 for Hughes, 58 for Cannon, 40 for Fairbanks, 25 for La Follette, 16 for Foraker, 3 for President Roosevelt, and one abstention. [8]

Presidential Ballot
Candidate1stUnanimous
William Howard Taft 702980
Philander C. Knox 68-
Charles Evans Hughes 67-
Joseph Gurney Cannon 58-
Charles W. Fairbanks 40-
Robert M. La Follette 25-
Joseph B. Foraker 16-
Theodore Roosevelt 3-
Not Voting1-

[9]

Representative James S. Sherman from New York received the vice-presidential nomination.

Vice-Presidential Ballot
Candidate1stUnanimous
James S. Sherman 816980
Franklin Murphy 77-
Curtis Guild, Jr. 75-
George L. Sheldon 10-
Charles W. Fairbanks 1-
Not Voting1-

[10]

Democratic Party nomination

Nominees

Democratic Party (United States) Democratic Disc.svg
Democratic Party (United States)
1908 Democratic Party ticket
William Jennings Bryan John W. Kern
for Presidentfor Vice President
William Jennings Bryan, 1860-1925 (cropped).jpg
JohnWKern.jpg
Former U.S. Representative
for Nebraska's 1st
(1891–1895)
Former Indiana State Senator
(1893–1897)
Campaign
1908DemocraticPoster.png

Candidates

Candidates in this section are sorted by delegates won
William J. Bryan John A. Johnson George Gray Jesse R. Grant
BRYAN, WILLIAM JENNINGS LCCN2016856654 (cropped).jpg
Portrait of John Albert Johnson.jpg
George Gray Senator.jpg
Grant 3820614622 05901b339a o (cropped1).jpg
U.S. Representative
for Nebraska's 1st District
(1891–1895)
16th
Governor of Minnesota
(1905–1909)
Federal Appeals Judge
from Delaware
(1899–1914)
Engineer and Businessman
from California
Delegates: 549 [11] Delegates: 25 [11] Delegates: 6 [11] Delegates: 0 [11]
Campaign
Convention vote
PresidentVice President
William J. Bryan 888.5 / Unanimous John W. Kern Unanimous
George Gray 59.5
John A. Johnson 46
Not Voting8

As the 1908 election approached, William Jennings Bryan was the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination. Bryan's most formidable challenger for the nomination was Minnesota Governor John Albert Johnson. Johnson's rags-to-riches story, honesty, reformist credentials, and ability to win in a heavily Republican state made him popular within the Democratic Party. In March, the Minnesota Democratic State Convention endorsed Johnson for president. By the end of June, however, Bryan had amassed more than the requisite two-thirds of the delegates needed for nomination.

The 1908 Democratic National Convention was held in Denver between July 7 and 10. Johnson, aware of the fact that Bryan's nomination was a foregone conclusion, released his delegates, thereby allowing Bryan to win the nomination on the first ballot. [12]

Bryan left the choice of vice-president to the delegates. John W. Kern from Indiana was unanimously declared the candidate for vice-president without a formal ballot after the names of Charles A. Towne, Archibald McNeil, and Clark Howell were withdrawn from consideration. Kern was a former state senator (1893-1897) and two-time gubernatorial candidate (1900 and 1904).

In response to nomination of Bryan and Kern, The New York Times disparagingly pointed out that the Democratic national ticket was consistent because "a man twice defeated for the Presidency was at the head of it, and a man twice defeated for governor of his state was at the tail of it." [12]

Third parties and independents

People's Party nomination

Nominees
1908 People's Party ticket
Thomas E. Watson Samuel Williams
for Presidentfor Vice President
Tom E Watson.jpg
Samuel Williams.jpg
Former U.S. Representative
for Georgia's 10th District
(1891–1893)
Former State Representative
from Indiana
(1885–1887)
Campaign

In 1904 the national Populist Party ticket fared fairly well. Its total was twice the party's total in the previous presidential election, and in ten states, it received over 1% of the vote. It also offered 47 candidates for the House of Representatives, though the only ones elected were cross-endorsed by one of the major parties. The party remained in fusion with either the Democrats or the Republicans in many states.

The following three years were a trying time for the party. When Democrats began to call for the nomination of Bryan in 1908, western Populist leader Thomas Tibbles announced that the People's Party would probably not support him since he had gone into the hands of the Eastern business interests. [13] Two months later, Nebraska Democrats decided in their state convention to end fusion with the Populists, but they changed their mind after an all-night conference. [14] In the midterm elections the party only offered 10 candidates for House, and the Kansas People's Party officially disbanded in December when that state party's leader announced that he was joining the Republicans. [15]

By late 1907, many Populists were hoping that Thomas Watson would agree to run for president again. The previous three years had been unusual for Watson. He gave a speech to a gathering of farmers in Greensborough, Georgia and while preparing for supper, the house where he was staying was burned. [16] In mid-1906, Watson called on Georgia Populists to vote for Hoke Smith for governor in the Democratic primary, which fueled speculation that Watson was thinking of returning to the Democrats. [17] In early 1907, Watson started a network of Populist-leaning publications to keep the party's principles alive; Tibbles was chosen to serve as the chief editor. [18] One month later, someone fired shots into the Watsons' house in Augusta. [19] He had an altercation with an African-American porter on a train; when the porter said that he was unable to increase the train's speed, Watson hit the man in the face with the cap of his cane. [20]

The People's Party National Committee met on November 26, 1907, to make preparations for the 1908 national convention. National chairman James Ferriss indicated that Thomas Watson was the front runner for the nomination, saying that the party hoped to forge an alliance with one or more of the other minor parties, including possibly the Independence League or the Prohibitionists. [21] In early 1908, however, at least one member of the national committee believed that Senator Robert La Follette of Wisconsin would win the Populist nomination. [22]

On the first day of the convention, the delegation from Nebraska worked to adjourn the convention; they had already decided to support Bryan if he became the Democratic nominee. They managed to delay the official organization of the convention all day. One of their delegates, A.M. Walling of Nebraska, told the New York Times "we shall bolt if the convention attempts to nominate Thomas E. Watson, or any one else. We are not alone, for we have assurances that Minnesota, Georgia, and possibly Michigan and Kansas will walk out when we do". [23]

The convention was organized on the second day and completed all its relevant business. Watson supporters chose George A. Honnecker of New Jersey to serve as the permanent chairman, defeating the Bryan supporters' choice, Jacob Coxey. The platform called for inflation of the currency, public ownership of railroads, telephones, and telegraphs, labor legislation, and a ban on futures gambling. When the time for nominations began, a schism took place; Watson's name was placed in nomination, and the Nebraska delegation bolted. They were followed by T.J. Weighan, the sole delegate from Minnesota. Watson was then nominated for president; his running mate was Samuel Williams of Indiana. [24]

Socialist Party nomination

Nominees
1908 Socialist Party ticket
Eugene V. Debs Benjamin Hanford
for Presidentfor Vice President
EugeneVDebs.png
Hanford-Ben-portrait.jpg
Former State Senator
from Indiana
(1885–1889)
Printer and Labor Organizer
from New York
Campaign
Debs-Hanford-postcard-1908.jpg
Candidates
Candidates in this section are sorted by convention vote
Eugene V. Debs James F. Carey Carl D. Thompson Algie M. Simons Maximillian S. Hayes
EugeneVDebs.png
Thompson-carl-d.jpg
Simons-a-1902.jpg
Hayes-Mas-S.jpg
Former State Senator
from Indiana
(1885–1889)
Former State Representative
from Massachusetts
(1899–1903)
State Representative
from Wisconsin
(1906–1908)
Former Editor of the
International Socialist Review
from Illinois
(1900–1908)
Editor of the Cleveland Citizen
from Ohio
(1891–1940)
Delegates: 159Delegates: 16
DTBN
Delegates: 14Delegates: 9Delegates: 0
DTBN
[25] [25] [25] [25] [25]

Eugene Debs had originally hoped that Bill Haywood, who had attained a national profile from being put on trial for the murder of Frank Steunenberg, of which he was acquitted, would run for the Socialist nomination for president. At this time however the Socialist Party was fracturing between its radical and more moderate elements, and Debs was deemed the only candidate capable of keeping the party unified. He was overwhelmingly nominated for the presidency on the first ballot, with Benjamin Hanford again named as his running-mate.

Convention vote
PresidentVice President
Eugene V. Debs 159 / Unanimous Benjamin Hanford 106 / Unanimous
James F. Carey 16 Seymour Stedman 42
Carl D. Thompson 14 May W. Simons 20
Algie M. Simons 9 John W. Slayton 15
Caleb Lipscomb1
G. W. Woodby1

Socialist Labor Party nomination

Nominees
1908 Socialist Labor Party ticket
August Gillhaus Donald L. Munro
for Presidentfor Vice President
Gilhaus-august-08.jpg
Munro-donald-l-08.jpg
Engineer
from New York
Machinist
from Virginia

The Socialist Labor Party met in New York, New York from July 2 to July 5 in Arlington Hall, St. Mark's Place. While increasingly dwarfed by the growing membership of the Socialist Party led by Eugene Debs and Bill Haywood, Daniel De Leon and his compatriots remained committed to maintaining their separate course, considering Debs and his platform as "reactionary". [26] An attempt was made to depose Leon from his position of editor of the Party's papers in favor of a more moderate candidate, fearing that Leon's writings were alienating voters who might otherwise be sympathetic to their cause. The report was overwhelmingly voted down after Leon spoke in defense of his conduct as the Party's editor, with a rival report being adopted praising his leadership. [27] When it came time for the nominations, Leon personally nominated Martin Preston of Nevada, who was currently serving a twenty-five year sentence for the murder of Anton Silva. While noting that Preston was only 32 at the time, Leon remarked that "it was for the working people to elect Preston, and if he was elected he would be seated". Preston's nomination was ratified unanimously, with Donald Munro of Virginia winning in a contest against Arthur S. Dower of Texas for the Vice Presidential nomination. The nominations were later formalized at Cooper Union following the close of the convention. [28]

Only days later however Martin Preston replied in a telegram that he could not accept the Presidential nomination, a declination that had not been expected nor prepared for. [29] August Gillhaus of New York was later then nominated in Preston's stead.

Prohibition Party nomination

Nominees
1908 Prohibition Party ticket
Eugene W. Chafin Aaron S. Watkins
for Presidentfor Vice President
Eugene Chafin photo.jpg
Aaron S. Watkins (LOC).jpg
Attorney at Law
from Illinois
Professor and Methodist Minister
from Ohio
Campaign
Eugene Chafin - Aaron S. Watkins 1908.jpg

The Prohibition Party met in Columbus, Ohio on July 14 and 15 to nominate their presidential ticket. Eugene Chafin was nominated on the third ballot in an open contest. When the runner-up for the Presidential nomination William Palmore, a Methodist Minister from Missouri and Editor of the St. Louis Christian Advocate, declined his nomination for the Vice Presidency, the convention hurriedly allowed for a new set of nominations and another ballot. Aaron Watkins of Ohio would win a majority on the first ballot.

Convention vote
President(Note)Vice President [30]
Candidate1st2nd3rdUnanimousCandidateUnanimous1stUnanimous
Eugene W. Chafin 1953766361,087 Aaron S. Watkins - ?1,087
William A. Palmore273418415-William A. Palmore1,087--
Alfred L. Manierre1591214-T. B. Demaree- ?-
Daniel R. Sheen12415712-Charles S. Holler- ?-
Will W. Tracy105817-----
Frederick F. Wheeler7273------
Oliver W. Stewart 6147------
James B. Cranfill 28-------
George R. Stewart7-------
Charles Scanlon1-------

Independence Party nomination

Nominees
1908 Independence Party ticket
Thomas L. Hisgen John T. Graves
for Presidentfor Vice President
Thomas L. Hisgen.jpg
John Temple Graves.jpg
CEO of Hisgen Brothers
from Massachusetts
(1888–1927)
Newspaper Editor
from Georgia
Candidates
Candidates in this section are sorted by highest convention vote
Thomas L. Hisgen John Temple Graves Milford W. Howard Reuben R. Lyon William R. Hearst William J. Bryan
Thomas L. Hisgen.jpg
John Temple Graves.jpg
MilfordWHoward.jpg
William Randolph Hearst cph 3a49373.jpg
BRYAN, WILLIAM JENNINGS LCCN2016856654 (cropped).jpg
CEO of Hisgen Brothers
from Massachusetts
(1888–1927)
Newspaper Editor
from Georgia
Former U.S. Representative
for Alabama's 7th District
(1895–1899)
Attorney at Law
from New York
Former U.S. Representative
for New York's 11th District
(1903–1907)
Former U.S. Representative
for Nebraska's 1st District
(1891–1895)
Delegates: 831Delegates: 213Delegates: 200Delegates: 71
NW:Before 2nd Ballot
Delegates: 49
DTBN
Delegates: 0
NR
[31] [31] [31] [31] [31] [31]

Disappointed with his performance in the 1904 Democratic presidential nomination campaign, and disillusioned as to his chances of successfully attaining it in 1908, William Randolph Hearst decided to run instead on the ticket of a third party of his own making. Originally borne from the Municipal Ownership League, a vehicle for Hearst's ultimately unsuccessful bid for the mayoralty of New York in 1905, it was Hearst's intention to fuse it with the remnants of the Populist Party led by Thomas Watson, a former Representative from Georgia who had been its presidential nominee in 1904. However, these intentions were dashed when every candidate that the Independence Party put forth in elections held in New York was elected except Hearst himself, despite an endorsement by the Democratic Party. Devastated, Hearst declared his intention never again to be a candidate.

While Hearst would no longer be the nominee, he fully intended to exercise influence at Independence Party's convention; the platform itself was in large part a statement of his own views. With its candidates nominated, the party's purpose was changed from being a path for Hearst's presidential ambitions to being an instrument of his wrath. Through the influence of his papers and generous financial donations, Hearst hoped that the Independence ticket would draw away votes from William Jennings Bryan and lead to his defeat against Taft, a personal vendetta for Bryan failing to support his own bid for the Presidency in 1904.

Presidential Ballot
1st2nd3rd
Thomas L. Hisgen 396590831
John T. Graves 2131897
Milford W. Howard 20010938
Reuben R. Lyon 7100
William R. Hearst 49492

[32]

General election

Campaign

The aging and balding "Boy Orator of the Platte" delivers a speech. WmJBryan-speech.jpg
The aging and balding "Boy Orator of the Platte" delivers a speech.

With the Free Silver issue no longer dominant, Bryan campaigned on a progressive platform attacking "government by privilege." His campaign slogan, "Shall the People Rule?", was featured on numerous posters and campaign memorabilia. However, Taft undercut Bryan's liberal support by accepting some of his reformist ideas, and Roosevelt's progressive policies blurred the distinctions between the parties. Republicans also used the slogan "Vote for Taft now, you can vote for Bryan anytime," a sarcastic reference to Bryan's two failed previous presidential campaigns.

The Socialist candidate, Eugene Debs, embarked on an ambitious whistle-stop tour aboard a train nicknamed the Red Special, giving speeches regarding the Socialist cause across the country. The exertion of the tour exhausted Debs, and at certain points his brother Theodore - who bore a great resemblance to Eugene - substituted for him to allow the candidate to rest. [33]

Businessmen continued to support the Republican Party, and Bryan failed to secure the support of labor. As a result, Bryan ended up with the worst of his three defeats in the national popular vote. He lost almost all the northern states to Taft and the popular vote by 8 percentage points.

This would be Bryan's last campaign for the presidency, although he would remain a popular figure within the Democratic Party and in 1912 would play a key role in securing the presidential nomination for Woodrow Wilson. Charles W. Bryan, William's brother, would become the (losing) Democratic nominee for Vice President in 1924. Bryan's 162 electoral votes from this election, combined with his 155 and 176 electoral votes from 1900 and 1896 respectively, make him the person with the most electoral votes never to be president.

Results

Results by county explicitly indicating the percentage for the winning candidate. Shades of red are for Taft (Republican), shades of blue are for Bryan (Democratic), shades of green are for "Other(s)" (Non-Democratic/Non-Republican), grey indicates zero recorded votes, and white indicates territories not elevated to statehood. PresidentialCounty1908Colorbrewer.gif
Results by county explicitly indicating the percentage for the winning candidate. Shades of red are for Taft (Republican), shades of blue are for Bryan (Democratic), shades of green are for "Other(s)" (Non-Democratic/Non-Republican), grey indicates zero recorded votes, and white indicates territories not elevated to statehood.
Roosevelt handing over his policies to his political protege, William H. Taft. TAFT1909.JPG
Roosevelt handing over his policies to his political protégé, William H. Taft.

Forty-six states participated, as Oklahoma had joined the Union less than a year before. Bryan won forty-eight counties in the new state of Oklahoma. The most important increase in number of counties carried by Bryan was in the West South Central section, in part due to the vote of newly admitted Oklahoma. [35]

Of the 2,858 counties making returns, Taft won in 1,494 (52.27%) while Bryan carried 1,355 (47.41%). Nine (0.31%) counties recorded more votes cast for "Other(s)" than either of the two-party candidates, whilst twenty-eight counties (0.97%) recorded zero votes due to being inhabited either by Native Americans who would not gain full citizenship for sixteen years, or by disenfranchised southern African-Americans. Taft had a majority in 1,325 counties while Bryan had a majority in 1,204 counties.

By carrying 1,355 counties, Bryan won more counties than he had in 1900 (1,340), but he did not reach or surpass the number of counties he had won in 1896 (1,559). While Bryan won more counties than McKinley in 1896, Bryan failed to carry more counties than the Republican candidate in 1900 or 1904. Compared with his strength in previous elections, however, Bryan carried 69 counties in 1908 which had not been Democratic in either 1896 or 1900. [36]

Bryan increased the area carried by Democrats in every part of the country except New England and the South. He doubled the number of Democratic counties in Wisconsin and won more counties in Indiana than were carried by plurality vote by the Democrats in any election in the Fourth Party System except 1912. He made decided gains in Missouri and in his home state of Nebraska, [35] besides achieving notable victories in Colorado and Nevada. However, in four Western states (Washington, Oregon, Wyoming, and North Dakota), there was not one Democratic county. This was true likewise of Michigan, Delaware, and each of the New England states.

The total vote increased greatly, by more than a million vis-à-vis 1904. Each party shared in the increase, but whereas Taft had nearly fifty thousand more than Theodore Roosevelt, Bryan had nearly 1,500,000 more votes than Alton Parker had garnered, and more than in either of his previous campaigns.

It was noticeable that the "other" vote was only about seven thousand less than four years earlier. The "other" vote was a plurality in nine counties in the states of Georgia and Texas.

The size of the vote cast for the defeated Bryan in 1908 is clear evidence of perhaps the most striking feature of the American presidential vote. In this third attempt at the presidency, and in an election following one in which the nominee of his party polled only five million votes, Bryan had heavy support in every section of the country, and in every state. Moreover, nearly two-thirds of the vote cast for Bryan was from the fifteen states of the (Northeastern) Mid-Atlantic, East North Central, and West North Central sections, in which the Democratic candidate carried only one state (Nebraska).

Despite all conclusions as to predominant sentiment in the different sections and its economic, social, and political causes, there was a national vote cast for Bryan, and it was urban as well as rural; it was eastern, western, southern, and northern. Everywhere the Democratic Party was the minority party, and it was not hopeless, nor was it helpless. It was the agency for the expression of the opposition of almost six and a half million voters. [36] According to Historian George E. Mowry:

What was especially significant in the election was the continued growth in the strength of the Democratic party and the success of the so-called progressive Republican candidates in the Midwest. The Republicans had not only lost seats in the House of Representatives but they had also lost governors in Ohio, Indiana, Minnesota, and North Dakota, all of which voted for Taft. In Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska, and even in Kansas self-announced progressive Republicans, who had previously defeated conservatives in the primaries, were more successful in beating their Democratic rivals. The election, The New York Times reported, had been punctuated with "independent voting." A closer analysis of the returns indicated that the voter in the Midwest had expressed his independence mostly from standpat Republicanism symbolized by the control of Speaker Cannon in the House and Aldrich in the Senate. [37]

As of 2021, this is the last of only two elections when Kansas and Nebraska have not voted for the same candidate. [lower-alpha 1] The election of 1908 was the last election in which a Republican won the presidency without winning Nebraska, and the last in which Nebraska voted differently to Kansas and North Dakota.

United States Electoral College 1908.svg

Electoral results
Presidential candidatePartyHome statePopular voteElectoral
vote
Running mate
CountPercentageVice-presidential candidateHome stateElectoral vote
William Howard Taft Republican Ohio 7,678,33551.57%321 James Schoolcraft Sherman New York 321
William Jennings Bryan Democratic Nebraska 6,408,97943.04%162 John Worth Kern Indiana 162
Eugene Victor Debs Socialist Indiana420,8522.83%0 Benjamin Hanford New York0
Eugene Wilder Chafin Prohibition Illinois 254,0871.71%0 Aaron Sherman Watkins Ohio0
Thomas Louis Hisgen Independence Massachusetts 82,5740.55%0 John Temple Graves Georgia 0
Thomas Edward Watson Populist Georgia28,8620.19%0 Samuel Wardell Williams Indiana0
August Gillhaus Socialist Labor New York 14,0310.09%0 Donald L. Munro Virginia 0
Other1,5190.01%Other
Total14,889,239100%483483
Needed to win242242

Source (Popular Vote):Leip, David. "1908 Presidential Election Results". Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections. Retrieved September 10, 2012.

Source (Electoral Vote): "Electoral College Box Scores 1789–1996". National Archives and Records Administration . Retrieved July 31, 2005.

Popular vote
Taft
51.57%
Bryan
43.04%
Debs
2.83%
Chafin
1.71%
Others
0.85%
Electoral vote
Taft
66.46%
Bryan
33.54%

Geography of results

1908 Electoral Map.png

Results by state

[38]

States/districts won by Bryan/Kern
States/districts won by Taft/Sherman
William Howard Taft
Republican
William Jennings Bryan
Democratic
Eugene V. Debs
Socialist
Eugene Chafin
Prohibition
Thomas Hisgen
Independence
Thomas Watson
Populist
August Gillhaus
Socialist Labor
MarginState Total
Stateelectoral
votes
# %electoral
votes
# %electoral
votes
# %electoral
votes
# %electoral
votes
# %electoral
votes
# %electoral
votes
# %electoral
votes
# %#
Alabama 1125,56124.31-74,39170.75111,4501.38-6900.66-4970.47-1,5761.50-----48,830-46.44105,152AL
Arkansas 956,62437.30-87,01557.3195,8423.85-1,0260.68-2890.19-1,0260.68-----30,391-20.02151,822AR
California 10214,39855.4610127,49232.98-28,6597.41-11,7703.04-4,2781.11-------86,90622.48386,597CA
Colorado 5123,69346.88-126,64448.0057,9603.02-5,5592.11-----------2,951-1.12263,858CO
Connecticut 7112,91559.43768,25535.92-5,1132.69-2,3801.25-7280.38----6080.32-44,66023.50190,003CT
Delaware 325,01452.10322,05545.94-2390.50-6701.40-290.06-------2,9596.1648,007DE
Florida 510,65421.58-31,10463.0153,7477.59-1,3562.75-5531.12-1,9463.94-----20,450-41.4349,360FL
Georgia 1341,35531.21-72,35054.60135840.44-1,4521.10-760.06-16,68712.59-----30,995-23.39132,504GA
Idaho 352,62154.09336,16237.17-6,4006.58-1,9862.04-1240.13-------16,45916.9297,293ID
Illinois 27629,93254.5327450,81039.02-34,7113.00-29,3642.54-7,7240.67-6330.05-1,6800.15-179,12215.501,155,254IL
Indiana 15348,99348.4015338,26246.91-13,4761.87-18,0452.50-5140.07-1,1930.17-6430.09-10,7311.49721,126IN
Iowa 13275,20955.6213200,77140.58-8,2871.67-9,8371.99-4040.08-2610.05----74,43815.05494,769IA
Kansas 10197,21652.4610161,20942.88-12,4203.30-5,0331.34-680.02-------36,0079.58375,946KS
Kentucky 13235,71148.03-244,09249.74134,0930.83-5,8851.20-2000.04-3330.07-4050.08--8,381-1.71490,719KY
Louisiana 98,95811.93-63,56884.6392,5143.35----770.10--------54,610-72.7075,117LA
Maine 666,98763.00635,40333.29-1,7581.65-1,4871.40-7000.66-10.00----31,58429.70106,336ME
Maryland 8116,51348.852115,90848.5962,3230.97-3,3021.38-4850.20-------6050.25238,531MD
Massachusetts 16265,96658.2116155,54334.04-10,7792.36-4,3740.96-19,2374.21----1,0110.22-110,42324.17456,919MA
Michigan 14335,58061.9314175,77132.44-11,5862.14-16,9743.13-7600.14----1,0960.20-159,80929.49541,830MI
Minnesota 11195,84359.1111109,40133.02-14,5274.38-11,1073.35-4260.13-------86,44226.09331,304MN
Mississippi 104,3636.52-60,28790.11109781.46-------1,2761.91-----55,924-83.5966,904MS
Missouri 18347,20348.5018346,57448.41-15,4312.16-4,2840.60-4020.06-1,1650.16-8680.12-6290.09715,927MO
Montana 332,33346.98329,32642.61-5,8558.51-8271.20-4810.70-------3,0074.3768,822MT
Nebraska 8126,99747.60-131,09949.1483,5241.32-5,1791.94-----------4,102-1.54266,799NE
Nevada 310,77543.93-11,21245.7132,1038.57----4361.78--------437-1.7824,526NV
New Hampshire 453,14959.32433,65537.56-1,2991.45-9051.01-5840.65-------19,49421.7689,600NH
New Jersey 12265,29856.8012182,52239.07-10,2492.19-4,9301.06-2,9160.62----1,1960.26-82,77617.72467,111NJ
New York 39870,07053.1139667,46840.74-38,4512.35-22,6671.38-35,8172.19----3,8770.24-202,60212.371,638,350NY
North Carolina 12114,88745.49-136,92854.22123720.15-3540.14-----------22,041-8.73252,554NC
North Dakota 457,68061.02432,88534.79-2,4212.56-1,4961.58-430.05-------24,79526.2394,525ND
Ohio 23572,31251.0323502,72144.82-33,7953.01-11,4021.02-4390.04-1620.01-7210.06-69,5916.201,121,552OH
Oklahoma 7110,55043.03-123,90748.22721,7528.47----2740.11-4120.17-----11,889-4.66256,917OK
Oregon 462,53056.39438,04934.31-7,3396.62-2,6822.42-2890.26----2740.11-24,48122.08110,889OR
Pennsylvania 34745,77958.8434448,78235.41-33,9142.68-36,6942.90-1,0570.08----1,2240.10-296,99723.431,267,450PA
Rhode Island 443,94260.76424,70634.16-1,3651.89-1,0161.40-1,1051.53----1830.25-19,23626.6072,317RI
South Carolina 93,9455.94-62,28893.8491000.15----460.07--------58,343-87.8966,379SC
South Dakota 467,53658.84440,26635.08-2,8462.48-4,0393.52-880.08-------27,27023.76114,775SD
Tennessee 12117,97745.87-135,60852.73121,8700.73-3010.12-3320.13-1,0920.42-----17,631-6.86257,180TN
Texas 1865,66622.35-217,30273.97187,8702.68-1,6340.56-1150.04-9940.34-1760.06--151,636-51.62293,757TX
Utah 361,02856.19342,60139.22-4,8954.51----870.08-------18,42716.97108,613UT
Vermont 439,55275.08411,49621.82----7991.52-8041.53-------28,05653.2652,680VT
Virginia 1252,57238.36-82,94660.52122550.19-1,1110.81-510.04-1050.08-250.02--30,374-22.16137,065VA
Washington 5106,06257.68558,69131.92-14,1777.71-4,7002.56-2490.14-------47,37125.76183,879WA
West Virginia 7137,86953.427111,41843.17-3,6791.43-5,1391.99----------26,45110.25258,105WV
Wisconsin 13247,74754.5213166,66236.67-28,1476.19-11,5652.54-------3180.07-81,08517.84454,441WI
Wyoming 320,84655.43314,91839.67-1,7154.56-660.18-640.17-------5,92815.7637,609WY
TOTALS:4837,678,33551.573216,408,97943.04162420,8522.83-254,0871.71-82,5740.55-28,8620.19-14,0310.09-1,269,3568.5314,889,239US

Close states

Margin of victory less than 1% (34 electoral votes):

  1. Missouri, 0.09% (629 votes)
  2. Maryland, 0.25% (605 votes)

Margin of victory less than 5% (46 electoral votes):

  1. Colorado, 1.12% (2,951 votes)
  2. Indiana, 1.49% (10,731 votes)
  3. Nebraska, 1.54% (4,102 votes)
  4. Kentucky, 1.71% (8,381 votes)
  5. Nevada, 1.78% (437 votes)
  6. Montana, 4.37% (3,007 votes)
  7. Oklahoma, 4.66% (11,889 votes)

Margin of victory between 5% and 10% (60 electoral votes):

  1. Delaware, 6.16% (2,959 votes)
  2. Tennessee, 6.86% (17,631 votes)
  3. Ohio, 6.20% (69,591 votes)
  4. North Carolina, 8.73% (22,041 votes)
  5. Kansas, 9.58% (36,007 votes)

Tipping point state:

  1. West Virginia, 10.25% (26,451 votes)

Statistics

Counties with Highest Percent of Vote (Republican)

  1. Leslie County, Kentucky 92.96%
  2. Unicoi County, Tennessee 92.77%
  3. Sevier County, Tennessee 91.44%
  4. Keweenaw County, Michigan 90.56%
  5. Johnson County, Tennessee 90.21%

Counties with Highest Percent of Vote (Democratic)

  1. Hampton County, South Carolina 100.00%
  2. King County, Texas 100.00%
  3. Garza County, Texas 100.00%
  4. Loving County, Texas 100.00%
  5. Wilcox County, Alabama 99.81%

Counties with Highest Percent of Vote (Other)

  1. Terry County, Texas 100.00%
  2. Glascock County, Georgia 69.97%
  3. McDuffie County, Georgia 64.31%
  4. Lincoln County, Georgia 61.65%
  5. Oconee County, Georgia 56.21%

Campaign memorabilia

See also

Notes

  1. The other was in 1892 when Kansas voted for Populist James B. Weaver and Nebraska for Republican Benjamin Harrison

Related Research Articles

1896 United States presidential election U.S. presidential election

The 1896 United States presidential election was the 28th quadrennial presidential election, held on Tuesday, November 3, 1896. Former Governor William McKinley, the Republican candidate, defeated former Representative William Jennings Bryan, the Democratic candidate. The 1896 campaign, which took place during an economic depression known as the Panic of 1893, was a political realignment that ended the old Third Party System and began the Fourth Party System.

1900 United States presidential election Election in 1900

The 1900 United States presidential election was the 29th quadrennial presidential election, held on Tuesday, November 6, 1900. In a re-match of the 1896 race, incumbent Republican President William McKinley defeated his Democratic challenger, William Jennings Bryan. McKinley's victory made him the first president to win a consecutive re-election since Ulysses S. Grant had accomplished the same feat in 1872.

1904 United States presidential election

The 1904 United States presidential election was the 30th quadrennial presidential election, held on Tuesday, November 8, 1904. Incumbent Republican President Theodore Roosevelt defeated the Democratic nominee, Alton B. Parker. Roosevelt's victory made him the first president who ascended to the presidency upon the death of his predecessor to win a full term in his own right.

1912 United States presidential election Presidential election held in the United States

The 1912 United States presidential election was the 32nd quadrennial presidential election, held on Tuesday, November 5, 1912. Democratic Governor Woodrow Wilson unseated incumbent Republican President William Howard Taft and defeated former President Theodore Roosevelt, who ran under the banner of the new Progressive or "Bull Moose" Party. As of 2021, this is the most recent presidential election in which the second-place candidate was neither a Democrat nor a Republican.

1944 United States presidential election American election

The 1944 United States presidential election was the 40th quadrennial presidential election. It was held on Tuesday, November 7, 1944. The election took place during World War II. Incumbent Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt defeated Republican Thomas E. Dewey to win an unprecedented fourth term. Until 1996, this would be the last time in which an incumbent Democratic president would win re-election after serving a full term in office.

William Jennings Bryan American politician (1860–1925)

William Jennings Bryan was an American orator and politician. Beginning in 1896, he emerged as a dominant force in the Democratic Party, running three times as the party's nominee for President of the United States in the 1896, 1900, and 1908 elections. He also served in the House of Representatives and as the Secretary of State under Woodrow Wilson. Because of his faith in the wisdom of the common people, he was often called "The Great Commoner".

The People's Party, also known as the Populist Party or simply the Populists, was a left-wing agrarian populist late-19th-century political party in the United States. The Populist Party emerged in the early 1890s as an important force in the Southern and Western United States, but collapsed after it nominated Democrat William Jennings Bryan in the 1896 United States presidential election. A rump faction of the party continued to operate into the first decade of the 20th century, but never matched the popularity of the party in the early 1890s.

1896 Democratic National Convention

The 1896 Democratic National Convention, held at the Chicago Coliseum from July 7 to July 11, was the scene of William Jennings Bryan's nomination as the Democratic presidential candidate for the 1896 U.S. presidential election.

1908 Democratic National Convention

The 1908 Democratic National Convention took place from July 7 to July 10, 1908, at Denver Auditorium Arena in Denver, Colorado.

William Jennings Bryan 1896 presidential campaign Campaign of William Jennings Bryan for the election to President of the United States in 1896

In 1896, William Jennings Bryan ran unsuccessfully for President of the United States. Bryan, a former Democratic congressman from Nebraska, gained his party's presidential nomination in July of that year after electrifying the Democratic National Convention with his Cross of Gold speech. He was defeated in the general election by the Republican candidate, former Ohio governor William McKinley.

1908 United States presidential election in New York Election in New York

The 1908 United States presidential election in New York took place on November 3, 1908. All 46 contemporary states were part of the 1908 United States presidential election. Voters chose 39 electors to the Electoral College, which selected the president and vice president.

1896 United States presidential election in New York Election in New York

The 1896 United States presidential election in New York took place on November 3, 1896. All contemporary 45 states were part of the 1896 United States presidential election. Voters chose 36 electors to the Electoral College, which selected the president and vice president.

1908 United States presidential election in New Jersey Election in New Jersey

The 1908 United States presidential election in New Jersey took place on November 3, 1908. All contemporary 46 states were part of the 1908 United States presidential election. Voters chose 14 electors to the Electoral College, which selected the president and vice president.

1908 United States presidential election in Wisconsin Election in Wisconsin

The 1908 United States presidential election in Wisconsin was held on November 3, 1908 as part of the 1908 United States presidential election. State voters chose 13 electors to the Electoral College, who voted for president and vice president.

1908 United States presidential election in Nevada Election in Nevada

The 1908 United States presidential election in Nevada was held on November 3, 1908 as part of the 1908 United States presidential election. Voters chose three representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for president and vice president.

1908 United States presidential election in Florida Election in Florida

The 1908 United States presidential election in Florida was held on November 3, 1908. Voters chose five representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for President and Vice-President.

1896 United States presidential election in Wyoming Election in Wyoming

The 1896 United States presidential election in Wyoming took place on November 3, 1896, as part of the 1896 United States presidential election. State voters chose three representatives, or electors, to the Electoral College, who voted for president and vice president.

1908 United States presidential election in Georgia Election in Georgia

The 1908 United States presidential election in Georgia took place on November 3, 1908, as part of the wider United States Presidential election. Voters chose 13 representatives, or electors, to the Electoral College, who voted for president and vice president.

1896 United States presidential election in South Dakota Election in South Dakota

The 1896 United States presidential election in South Dakota took place on November 3, 1896. All contemporary 45 states were part of the 1896 United States presidential election. Voters chose four electors to the Electoral College, which selected the president and vice president.

This is the electoral history of Thomas Woodrow Wilson, a Democrat, who served as the 28th President of the United States (1913–1921), and earlier as the 34th Governor of New Jersey (1911–1913).

References

  1. "Voter Turnout in Presidential Elections". The American Presidency Project. UC Santa Barbara.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 "Newspaper clipping" (PDF). timesmachine.nytimes.com. Retrieved July 4, 2020.
  3. "CHARGE FORGERY IN FLORIDA.; Representative Ames of Massachusetts Accused of Tricking Taftites". timesmachine.nytimes.com.
  4. "Newspaper clipping" (PDF). timesmachine.nytimes.com. Retrieved July 4, 2020.
  5. "Newspaper clipping" (PDF). timesmachine.nytimes.com. Retrieved July 4, 2020.
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "Newspaper clipping" (PDF). timesmachine.nytimes.com. Retrieved July 4, 2020.
  7. "Newspaper clipping" (PDF). timesmachine.nytimes.com. Retrieved July 4, 2020.
  8. Bain, Richard C.; Parris, Judith H. Convention Decisions and Voting Records. p. 174. ISBN   0-8157-0768-1.
  9. "Official report of the proceedings of the fourteenth Republican National Convention, held in Chicago, Illinois, June 16, 17, 18 and 19, 1908". Archive.org. Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  10. "Official report of the proceedings of the fourteenth Republican National Convention, held in Chicago, Illinois, June 16, 17, 18 and 19, 1908". Archive.org. Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  11. 1 2 3 4 "Newspaper clipping" (PDF). timesmachine.nytimes.com. Retrieved July 4, 2020.
  12. 1 2 "HarpWeek | Elections | The Democratic Nomination". Elections.harpweek.com. Retrieved September 23, 2017.
  13. "Newspaper clipping" (PDF). timesmachine.nytimes.com. Retrieved July 4, 2020.
  14. "Newspaper clipping" (PDF). timesmachine.nytimes.com. Retrieved July 4, 2020.
  15. "Newspaper clipping" (PDF). timesmachine.nytimes.com. Retrieved July 4, 2020.
  16. "Newspaper clipping" (PDF). timesmachine.nytimes.com. Retrieved July 4, 2020.
  17. "Newspaper clipping" (PDF). timesmachine.nytimes.com. Retrieved July 4, 2020.
  18. "Newspaper clipping" (PDF). timesmachine.nytimes.com. Retrieved July 4, 2020.
  19. "Newspaper clipping" (PDF). timesmachine.nytimes.com. Retrieved July 4, 2020.
  20. "Newspaper clipping" (PDF). timesmachine.nytimes.com. Retrieved July 4, 2020.
  21. "Newspaper clipping" (PDF). timesmachine.nytimes.com. Retrieved July 4, 2020.
  22. "Newspaper clipping" (PDF). timesmachine.nytimes.com. Retrieved July 4, 2020.
  23. "Newspaper clipping" (PDF). timesmachine.nytimes.com. Retrieved July 4, 2020.
  24. "Newspaper clipping" (PDF). timesmachine.nytimes.com. Retrieved July 4, 2020.
  25. 1 2 3 4 5 "Proceedings of the National Convention of the Socialist Party". July 4, 1908 via Internet Archive.
  26. "Newspaper clipping" (PDF). timesmachine.nytimes.com. Retrieved July 4, 2020.
  27. "Newspaper clipping" (PDF). timesmachine.nytimes.com. Retrieved July 4, 2020.
  28. "Newspaper clipping" (PDF). timesmachine.nytimes.com. Retrieved July 4, 2020.
  29. "Newspaper clipping" (PDF). timesmachine.nytimes.com. Retrieved July 4, 2020.
  30. "Newspaper clipping" (PDF). timesmachine.nytimes.com. Retrieved July 4, 2020.
  31. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Newspaper clipping" (PDF). timesmachine.nytimes.com. Retrieved July 4, 2020.
  32. "HISGEN AND GRAVES NEW PARTY TICKET – The Independence Convention Makes Its Choice in Early Morning. BRYAN'S NAME WAS HISSED Small Riot Followed Attempts to Nominate Him and His Sponsor Was Threatened by Delegates. HISGEN AND GRAVES NEW PARTY TICKET" (PDF). The New York Times . July 29, 1908. Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  33. Morgan, H. Wayne (1958). ""Red Special": Eugene V. Debs and the Campaign of 1908". Indiana Magazine of History. 54 (3): 211–236. Retrieved March 24, 2017.
  34. The Presidential Vote, 1896–1932 – Google Books. Stanford University Press. 1934. ISBN   9780804716963 . Retrieved August 12, 2014.
  35. 1 2 The Presidential Vote, 1896–1932, Edgar E. Robinson, pg. 13
  36. 1 2 The Presidential Vote, 1896–1932, Edgar E. Robinson, pg. 14
  37. George E. Mowry, The Era of Theodore Roosevelt, 1900-1912 (1958) p 231 online; citing The New York Times, November 7, 1908.
  38. "1908 Presidential General Election Data – National". Uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved April 26, 2013.

Further reading

Primary sources