1908 Republican National Convention
The 1908 Republican National Convention was held in Chicago Coliseum, Chicago, Illinois on June 16 to June 19, 1908. It convened to nominate successors to President Theodore Roosevelt and Vice President Charles W. Fairbanks.
U.S. Secretary of War William H. Taft of Ohio won Roosevelt’s endorsement and received the presidential nomination. The convention nominated New York Representative James S. Sherman to be his vice presidential running mate.
The Republican platform celebrated the Roosevelt administration’s economic policies such as the keeping of the protective tariff, establishment of a permanent currency system (the Federal Reserve), additional government supervision and control over . It championed enforcement of railroad rate laws, giving the Interstate Commerce Commission authority to investigate interstate railroads, and reduction of work hours for railroad workers, as well as general reduction in the work week.
In foreign policy, it supported a buildup of the armed forces, protection of American citizens abroad, extension of foreign commerce, vigorous arbitration and the Hague treaties, a revival of the U.S. Merchant Marine, support of war veterans, self-government for Cuba and the Philippines with citizenship for residents of Puerto Rico.
In other areas, it advocated court reform, creation of a federal Bureau of Mines and Mining, extension of rural mail delivery, environmental conservation, upholding of the rights of African-Americans and the civil service, and greater efficiency in national public health agencies.
The platform lastly expressed pride in U.S. involvement in the building of the Panama Canal, the admission of the New Mexico and Arizona Territories; called for the celebration of the birthday of Abraham Lincoln; and generally deplored the Democratic Party while celebrating the policies of the Republicans. The platform explained the differences between democracy and republicanism in which the Republicans made clear that democracy was leaning towards socialism and republicanism towards individualism which is actually consistent with modern party critiques.
The following individuals spoke at the 1908 Republican National Convention. Many spoke with the goal of nominating a specific nominee as this was before the age of the primary and the nominees were all decided at the convention.
- Prayer by Rt. Rev. P.J. Muldoon V.G.
- Julius C. Burrows, Michigan Senator
- Prayer by Rev. William Otis Waters
- Henry Cabot Lodge, Massachusetts Senator
- Prayer by Rev. Dr. John Wesley Hill
- George Henry Williams, Former Attorney General
- Henry Sherman Boutell of Illinois, Lawyer and diplomat
- Joseph W. Fordney, Congressman of Michigan
- Frank Hanly, Governor of Indiana
- Charles A. Bookwalter, Mayor of Indianapolis
- Stewart L. Woodford, Former Congressman and Judge of New York
- Theodore E. Burton, Congressman of Ohio
- George A. Knight, Attorney and Businessman
- C.B. M’Coy, Ohio Factory Owner
- W.O. Emory, Young Black Delegate from Macon, Georgia
- Robert S. Murphy, Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania
- James Scarlet, Prominent Attorney from Danville, Pennsylvania
- Henry F. Cochems, Wisconsin Football Star
- Charles A.A. McGee, Author of “The Truth About Money” from Wisconsin
- Prayer by Rabbi Tobias Schanfarber
- Timothy L. Woodruff, Businessman and Former Politician
- Joseph Gurney Cannon, Speaker of the House
- Augustus E. Willson, Governor of Kentucky
- Henry Cabot Lodge (again)
- Chase Osborn of Michigan
- James Brownlow Yellowley, Mississippi State Legislator
- Thomas N. McCarter, Former Attorney General of New Jersey and public servant
- William Warner, Senator from Missouri
- Julius C. Burrows of Michigan
Prior to the convention, Vice President Charles Fairbanks and New York Governor Charles Evans Hughes both seemed like plausible nominees, but Roosevelt was determined to pick his own successor. Though Roosevelt preferred Secretary of State Elihu Root, Root’s age and background in corporate law made him an unpalatable nominee, so Roosevelt instead supported Secretary of War William Howard Taft. Entering the convention, Taft, buoyed by the support of the popular Roosevelt, was virtually assured of the nomination. Taft won the presidential nomination on the first ballot, overcoming Fairbanks and the other candidates.
Withdrew Before Convention
Declined to Seek Nomination
Vice Presidential Candidates
Taft preferred a progressive running mate such as Indiana Senator Albert Beveridge or Iowa Senator Jonathan Dolliver, but Representative James S. Sherman of New York had the support of Speaker Joseph Gurney Cannon and the New York delegation. Sherman was a fairly conservative Republican who was nonetheless acceptable to the more progressive wing of the party. Sherman won the vice presidential nomination on the first ballot, taking 816 of the 979 votes cast. Former New Jersey Governor Franklin Murphy received 77 votes while Massachusetts Governor Curtis Guild, Jr. received 75 votes, with the remaining votes going to Governor George L. Sheldon of Nebraska and Vice President Charles Fairbanks.
Declined to Seek Nomination
- History of the United States Republican Party
- List of Republican National Conventions
- U.S. presidential nomination convention
- 1908 United States presidential election
- 1908 Democratic National Convention
- “Charles Warren Fairbanks, 26th Vice President (1905-1909)”. US Senate. US Senate. Retrieved 9 October 2015.
- “James S. Sherman, 27th Vice President (1909-1912)”. US Senate. US Senate. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
- “Convention on, Taft Controls”. New York Times. 17 June 1908. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
- “Taft Named; First Ballot”. New York Times. 19 June 1908. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
- Tweedy, John (1910). A History of the Republican National Conventions from 1856 to 1908. Republican National Convention. pp. 389–390. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
- Republican Party platform of 1908 at The American Presidency Project
- Taft acceptance speech at The American Presidency Project
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