This is the fifth part of a multi-part series on Presidential
campaign collectibles from the Nov. 7, 2016, monthly issue of
Presidential campaign banners, badges, tokens, medals and more from
America's 200-plus years of elections provide windows into the
quadrennial campaigns and their eras. Depending upon the campaign and
candidates, available items may be abundant and cost only a few
dollars each, or scarce, some costing thousands of dollars regardless
The 1912 presidential race featured four veteran politicos — the
Republican incumbent, William Howard Taft; former President Theodore
Roosevelt, who had handpicked Taft, his secretary of war, as his
successor for the 1908 campaign; the leading Democrat, New Jersey Gov.
Thomas Woodrow Wilson; and the Socialist Party candidate, Eugene V. Debs.
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For each man, a vast array of campaign items — badges, buttons,
ribbons and more, all of which fall under the broad category of
numismatics — were issued during the election. Some items can be
obtained for less than $100 each, but some of the rarest trinkets from
the campaign can cost thousands of dollars, if you are lucky enough to
even find an available example.
The 1912 election witnessed the establishment of a new political
entity, Roosevelt’s Progressive Party, also dubbed the Bull Moose
Party. Roosevelt’s decision to seek election (he had grown
dissatisfied with Taft’s policies) under a new political party banner
after losing the GOP nomination served to polarize the Republican
Party, eventually split the popular vote and almost single-handedly
contributed to the White House being won by Wilson.
The campaign also witnessed an Oct. 14, 1912, assassination attempt
on Roosevelt in Milwaukee. Roosevelt was shot by John Schrank while en
route to a campaign speech, which he delivered while still bleeding
from his wound. After eight days of hospitalization, Roosevelt went
back to campaigning.
During his hospital stay, the other presidential candidates
suspended their campaigns, as called for by Wilson. During the
campaign moratorium, Taft went on a short vacation before returning to
the White House, delivering several short speeches along the way.
Wilson continued to govern New Jersey.
The voters made the campaign outcome final for Wilson on Election
Day, Nov. 5, 1912.
Wilson won the presidency with 41.84 percent of the popular vote.
Roosevelt’s second place polling was, however, only 27.4 percent,
while Taft, in third carried 23.17 percent. Debs pulled just 5.99
percent of the popular vote.
Wilson became the only elected president to represent the Democratic
Party between 1892 and 1932, and only the second Democrat elected
between 1860 and 1932.
The 1912 election was the last presidential contest in which anyone
beyond the Republican or Democratic parties was a runner-up in either
the popular vote or the Electoral College. It was the first election
in which 48 states of the United States participated. New Mexico
became the 47th state on Jan. 6, 1912; Arizona, the 48th, on Feb. 14, 1912.
The 1912 election provided the launch pad for woman suffrage and
significant contributions by women in politics; and marked the first
Read our entire series so far on collecting Presidential election materials:
The presidential election that
might have been the nastiest on record
: So nasty were the personal attacks between Jackson and the
incumbent, John Quincy Adams, during the 1828 campaign that Jackson
blamed the stress of the attacks for contributing to the death of
The election of 1800 saw a number
of firsts among American presidential races
: The presidential election of 1800 was a particularly
uncomfortable one in political circles, pitting Vice President
Thomas Jefferson against the president he was currently serving
under, John Adams.
Abraham Lincoln faced
more than one opponent in the 1860 presidential election
: While it is not uncommon today for political candidates in state
and national contents to stump in any small community that will host
them, during the 1860 campaign the tactic was considered somewhat tacky.
Sounds like jewelry, so
why was a ‘cross of gold’ not considered a good thing in 1896?
: The hotly contested presidential race of 1896 pitted former Ohio
Gov. William McKinley, a Republican, against Democratic contender
and perennial presidential wannabe William Jennings Bryan.
How Theodore Roosevelt helped
deliver the White House to Woodrow Wilson
: The 1912 election witnessed the establishment of a new political
entity, Roosevelt’s Progressive Party, also dubbed the Bull Moose Party.
Four-time winner Franklin Roosevelt
generates opposition collectibles
: The election of 1932 put Democrat and former New York
governor Franklin Delano Roosevelt into the White House for the
first of his unprecedented four terms.
The 2016 presidential election
hitting new heights, or depths, of nastiness
: Campaign collectibles are trying to promote the 2016 presidential
candidates amid all the mudslinging.