The 1912 Republican National Convention was held at the Chicago Coliseum, Chicago, Illinois, from June 18 to June 22, 1912. The party nominated President William H. Taft and Vice President James S. Sherman for re-election.
Sherman died days before the election, and was replaced as Republican vice-presidential nominee by Nicholas M. Butler of New York.
Party power struggle
This convention marked the climax of a split in the party, resulting from a power struggle between incumbent Taft and former president Theodore Roosevelt that started in 1910. Politically liberal states for the first time were holding Republican primaries. Though Roosevelt had endorsed Taft as his successor, Taft's drift to the right had alienated Roosevelt, who launched a challenge to Taft's re-nomination. Roosevelt overwhelmingly won the primaries — winning 9 out of 12 states (8 by landslide margins). Taft won only the state of Massachusetts (by a small margin); he even lost his home state of Ohio to Roosevelt. Senator Robert M. La Follette Sr., a reformer, won two states. Through the primaries, Senator La Follette won a total of 36 delegates; President Taft won 48 delegates; and Roosevelt won 278 delegates. However 36 more conservative states did not hold primaries, but instead selected delegates via state conventions. For years Roosevelt had tried to attract Southern white Democrats to the Republican Party, and he tried to win delegates there in 1912. However Taft had the support of black Republicans in the South, and defeated Roosevelt there. 
Entering the convention, the Roosevelt and Taft forces seemed evenly matched, and a compromise candidate seemed possible. Taft was willing to compromise with Missouri Governor Herbert S. Hadley as presidential nominee; TR said no.  The Taft and Roosevelt camps engaged in a fight for the delegations of various states, with Taft emerging victorious, and Roosevelt claiming that several delegations were fraudulently seated because of the machinations of conservative party leaders including William Barnes Jr. and Boies Penrose. Following the seating of the anti-Roosevelt delegations, California Governor Hiram Johnson proclaimed that progressives would form a new party to nominate Roosevelt. Though many of Roosevelt's delegates remained at the convention, most refused to take part in the presidential ballot in protest of the contested delegates. Roosevelt ultimately ran a third party campaign as part of the Progressive Party (nicknamed the "Bull Moose Party"). Taft and Roosevelt both lost the 1912 election to the Democratic nominee, Woodrow Wilson.
Like Taft, Vice President James S. Sherman of New York was renominated by the party. Though Taft and Sherman did not get along early in their tenure, the two became closer allies as Taft's split with Roosevelt deepened, and Taft did not object to the re-nomination of Sherman. Taft's allies sought progressive leaders such as Idaho Senator William E. Borah and Vermont Governor John A. Mead to join the ticket, but both declined to be considered. Missouri Governor Herbert S. Hadley and former Vice President Charles Fairbanks were also mentioned as possibilities. Sherman died shortly before the election, and was not replaced on the ticket. In January, after the election had already been decided, Republican leaders appointed Columbia University president Nicholas Butler to fill out the ticket for the purposes of receiving electoral votes.
|Robert La Follette||41|
|Albert B. Cummins||17|
|Charles Evans Hughes||2|
|Present, not voting||344|
The balloting by states was as follows:
|District of Columbia||2||2|
|Vice Presidential Ballot|
|James S. Sherman||596|
|Charles Edward Merriam||20|
|Herbert S. Hadley||14|
|Albert J. Beveridge||2|
- History of the United States Republican Party
- List of Republican National Conventions
- U.S. presidential nomination convention
- Republican Party presidential primaries, 1912
- 1912 United States presidential election
- 1912 Democratic National Convention
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- Delahaye, Claire. "The New Nationalism and Progressive Issues: The Break with Taft and the 1912 Campaign," in Serge Ricard, ed., A Companion to Theodore Roosevelt (2011) pp 452–67. online
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- Roosevelt, Theodore. Theodore Roosevelt's Confession of Faith Before the Progressive National Convention, August 6, 1912 (Progressive Party, 1912) online.
- "1912 Republican National Convention", The Political Graveyard. Accessed February 1, 2006
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- "Bull Moose years: Who Won the Presidential Primaries in 1912?".
- Republican Party platform of 1912 at The American Presidency Project
- 1912 Republican National Convention at Smithsonian Magazine
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