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date: 31 July 2021

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When Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919) left the White House in 1909, he hoped his successor, William Howard Taft, would continue his reform and conservation policies. While Taft continued to initiate anti-trust suits, his natural conservatism led him to side with the Senate Republican leadership against the so-called “insurgents” led by Robert LaFollette. In 1910, Roosevelt returned from a prolonged trip to Africa and Europe to find the Republican Party on the verge of civil war. Roosevelt used the occasion of the dedication of the John Brown Memorial Park at Osawatomie, Kansas, to articulate a detailed reform program which he hoped would be adopted by Republican candidates in the 1910 congressional elections. Roosevelt later used this call for a “New Nationalism” as the basis for his candidacy in the 1912 presidential election.

Source: Ted Widmer, ed., American Speeches: Political Oratory from Lincoln to Bill Clinton (New York: Literary Classics of the United States, Inc., 2006), 216–228.

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