1912 Presidential Election Issues

What were the major issues in the 1912 U.S. Presidential election? Here are the issues, issue profiles, and issue position descriptions so far. Issues are listed from ‘far-left’ to ‘far-right’. Feedback welcome.

The Tariff

  • Tariffs are a detriment to a Universal Workers State.
  • Tariffs are a detriment to a Universal Workers State.
  • Tariffs only for revenue generation.
  • Tariffs should be used to protect labor interests and revenue.
  • Tariffs are for the Protection of business and for revenue.
  • Tariffs make profits for business.
  • Tariffs make profits for business.

Direct Democracy

  • The People should have total electoral power.
  • The People should have total electoral power.
  • For primaries, Senate elections, referendums, initiative and recalls.
  • The elections are a State’s Issue.
  • Opposed to recalls.
  • The Democracy is fine as it is.
  • The Democracy is fine as it is.

National Income Tax

  • Income Tax is unnecessary in a worker’s state.
  • Income Tax is unnecessary in a worker’s state.
  • We need a Constitutional Amendment authorizing the tax.
  • Taxation is fine as it is.
  • We should increase revenues through means other than a tax.
  • National income tax is too much government.
  • National income tax is too much government.

Business Regulation

  • Business should be owned by the state.
  • Business should be owned by the state.
  • The Federal government should charter business.
  • The States should continue to charter business.
  • We should be wary of business regulation.
  • Business is not the concern of government.
  • Business is not the concern of government.

Women’s Suffrage

  • Women should have full voting rights.
  • Women should have full voting rights.
  • Only married women or widows should have the vote.
  • Suffrage is a State issue.
  • Women should not have suffrage.
  • Women’s Suffrage would be a national tragedy.
  • Women’s Suffrage would be a national tragedy.

Isolationism

  • America needs to play a large role in international affairs.
  • America needs to play a large role in international affairs.
  • America should pay attention to foreign affairs.
  • America should explore itself before looking overseas.
  • America shouldn’t care what happens elsewhere.
  • America doesn’t need the rest of the world.
  • America doesn’t need the rest of the world.

Labor

  • Organized labor is essential to a worker’s state.
  • Organized labor is essential to a worker’s state.
  • Labor Unions are a workers best protection against exploitation.
  • Labor demands must be balanced with business concerns.
  • Unions are undermining our economy.
  • Unions should be outlawed.
  • Unions should be outlawed.

Conservation

  • Our natural resources belong to the nation.
  • Our natural resources belong to the nation.
  • Resource management and preservation is a vital concern.
  • Resources should be regulated by the government.
  • Resources should be used to benefit business.
  • Resources should be sold to the highest bidder.
  • Resources should be sold to the highest bidder.

Government Expenditures

  • The federal government should be dramatically bigger.
  • The federal government should be dramatically bigger.
  • Modest increase in expenditures, focus on effectiveness.
  • Small increase in expenditures.
  • Government expenditures needs to be reduced.
  • Dramatically reduce the size of the federal government.
  • Dramatically reduce the size of the federal government.

Cost of Living

  • Massive social and economic reforms are needed.
  • Massive social and economic reforms are needed.
  • We need price controls.
  • Rising costs can be offset with growth.
  • Less government spending will reduce prices.
  • Rising costs are not a governmental concern.
  • Rising costs are not a governmental concern.

Anti-Trust Laws

  • The state should own all industry.
  • The state should own all industry.
  • Trusts and Monopolies should be broken-up.
  • Business competiton should be regulated.
  • We don’t need anti-trust laws.
  • Monopolies should be encouraged.
  • Monopolies should be encouraged.

Rights of the States

  • The states should surrender sovereignty to the state.
  • The states should surrender sovereignty to the state.
  • States should give way to Federal law.
  • States’ rights are fine the way they are.
  • States’ rights are more important than Federal law.
  • The Confederacy was the way to go.
  • The Confederacy was the way to go.

Banking Laws

  • Banks should be abolished.
  • Banks should be abolished.
  • Banks should bid to hold federal funds.
  • Banking laws should be tougher.
  • Banks are fine as they are.
  • We need a central bank.
  • We need a central bank.

Taxes

  • Taxes are unnecessary in a worker’s state.
  • Taxes are unnecessary in a worker’s state.
  • Taxes should be raised.
  • Taxes are fine as the are.
  • Taxes should be reduced.
  • Taxes should be reduced significantly.
  • Taxes should be reduced significantly.

The Philippines

  • The Philippines should join the worker’s state.
  • The Philippines should join the worker’s state.
  • The Philippines should be granted independence.
  • The Philippine people should decide their own fate.
  • We should hold onto the Philippines as a resource.
  • The Philippines should become the 49th State.
  • The Philippines should become the 49th State.

Socialism

  • Socialism is great – we should abandon capitalism.
  • Socialism is great – we should abandon capitalism.
  • Socialism has ideas which we can learn from.
  • Socialism is an untried economic experiment.
  • Socialism is contrary to the American way.
  • Socialism is a threat to our Democracy.
  • Socialism is a threat to our Democracy.

Civil Service

  • Advancement should be strictly merit based.
  • Advancement should be strictly merit based.
  • Performance reviews should take place before advancement.
  • Civil Service is fine how it is.
  • Benefits and advancement should be based on service.
  • Advancement should be at executive discretion.
  • Advancement should be at executive discretion.

Unemployment

  • Large federal aid programs.
  • Large federal aid programs.
  • Aid for a large number of areas.
  • Aid for a good number of depressed areas.
  • Aid for a few depressed areas.
  • No federal stimulus is necessary.
  • No federal stimulus is necessary.

Corruption

  • Capitalism has corrupted our system! The system needs to be completely rebuilt.
  • The Republicans are completely corrupt.
  • The Republicans are more corrupt than Democrats.
  • Both parties are corrupt. We need better oversight and reform.
  • The Democrats are more corrupt than Republicans.
  • The Democrats are completely corrupt.
  • Socialism has corrupted our system! The system needs to be completely rebuilt.

 

 

 

 

16 thoughts on “1912 Presidential Election Issues

  1. Wow, it all looks fantastic. My only nit-pick is with “Isolationism”. I’d called it “Imperialism” or “Expansionism” as that was the current US Behavior during that time, and as it was the trend, I think it should carry the name on the issue. However, I’m fine with “Isolationism” if you prefer that title.

  2. You could avoid the double issues by saying something like, “women’s suffrage amendments within the 1st year” or “right away” and the less extreme issues something like, “gradually work towards women’s suffrage”. This should work with most of those double issues—gradually/slowly vs. right away.

  3. The Federal Reserve absolutely should be an issue here. It was signed into law in 1913.

    I’d set it so that the further right you go, the more opposition to it there is. Opponents would have preferred something like a gold standard instead of fiat currency.

    Prohibition was also an important issue during that time as well. You’re within a decade of the 18th Amendments ratification.

    I don’t believe interventionist/non-interventionist foreign policy is as much an issue here, because we’re between the Spanish-American War and WWI at this time. Probably much more of an issue if you create a 1916 scenario.

    Looks pretty good, though.

  4. The Tariff

    Tariffs are a detriment to a Universal Workers State.
    Tariffs are a detriment to a Universal Workers State.
    Tariffs only for revenue generation.
    Tariffs should be used to protect labor interests and revenue.
    Tariffs are for the Protection of business and for revenue.
    Tariffs make profits for business.
    Tariffs make profits for business.

    The more I think about this issue, the more I think it’s critical that it’s included, but the positions need to be changed.

    The left would have been the side more in favor of tariffs. Protectionist economic policies were supported by populists and unions. The thinking behind it was that tariffs kept import prices higher, meaning that laborers would have been able to command higher wages and salaries from their companies, because there wasn’t as much competition from other markets. The right would have been opposed on the grounds that tariffs would have been a form of government interference in the free markets. They likely would have preferred tariffs to the 16th Amendment, but your true free market conservatives wouldn’t have been in favor of this at all.

    On the issue of “Direct Democracy” for the more right-leaning positions, I’d change the word “Democracy” to “Republic.” I know it’s nit-picky, and I know most people (incorrectly) use these words interchangeably, but this has ALWAYS driven me nuts. lol

    Women’s Suffrage – I think the issue is important enough for inclusion, but maybe reevaluate the positions on this one.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women%27s_suffrage_in_the_United_States#Opposition

    Opposition seemed to be more driven by opposition to the temperance movement (largely backed by women at the time), and also by the “elite” of society who didn’t want their perceived “influence” to be diluted by the commoners. I don’t think it’s as cut and dried as “National Tragedy” for the opposition point of view.

    Anti-Trust laws – “Monopolies should be encouraged” seems to be antagonistic as well. Opponents of Anti-trust laws weren’t necessarily “Pro-monopoly,” they just felt that the federal government’s involvement in the free market was unnecessary to “solve” a problem that they felt was overblown. “Monopolies should be encouraged” would really be another form of government interventionism in the free market, something the free marketers would have naturally been opposed to in principle.

    Banking Laws – I overlooked this one last night. Didn’t even notice it. I think the issue ties into the Federal Reserve perfectly, but your positions are backwards. The left absolutely would have been on board with this one (your greenback and populist movements from the 19th Century, bimetalists, etc.). Without a Federal Reserve (Central Bank) the interventionists policies of the left at that time in both the economy and foreign policy are much more difficult to achieve.

    Philippines – I’m not so sure the conservative positions would have favored the Philippines as a 49th State. The conservatives at that time were largely anti-interventionists in foreign policy as well (as opposed to the more neo-conservative philosophy in existence today). I could be mistaken, of course, but this may need a reevaluation.

    Unemployment – The right would have been ok with letting this matter be solved at the state/local levels. While in principle opposed to the idea of unemployment, there still was a strong sentiment that most issues should be decided outside of Washington, whether they agreed with the issue or not. Maybe just expand the state’s right part of this issue for one of the right-winged slots. It breaks up some of the duplication that seems to exist (on several issues) between right/far-right (duplication on many issues seems to exist on left/far-left as well).

    Just my $.02

  5. Racism could also potentially be an issue. Unlike today, racism was a real problem back then. The South had a number of white supremacists in elected offices. Some examples of this would be James Vardaman, James Heflin, and B. B. Comer.

  6. ^^not to mention that TR was pretty blatantly racist and patronizing towards Filipino and Caribbean people in his speeches!

  7. Yes, racism was a problem, but both parties were extremely racist by today’s standards. Both parties were filled with White Supremacists, even when they were in favor of civil rights. TR and Woodrow Wilson were arguably the most racist presidents of the 20th century and they were of different parties. I think Civil Rights would be an issue over racism. Although, racism deserves to be an issue at any moment.

  8. When will the scenario be released? We might be able to give more feedback if we can play it through with what you have, as well as with the best of the feedback we’ve offered.

    I concur with what DJP recommends as issues for this scenario; as well as his opinion on what is left-wing and right-wing at the time.

  9. @ Jonathan – Thank you.

    I was considering your suggestion on the “racism” issue, and I almost have to wonder how that would map out in this kind of format. Like you said, racism and bigotry in general basically existed everywhere (ideologically speaking), so I have to wonder if it’s just too broad and encompassing to be practical. You had blacks, Mexicans, Chinese, Jews, Catholics, Irish, Italians, Germans, Fillipinos, etc. all the victims of bigotry at that time, from so many fronts.

    Too me, it’d be like creating an issue called “America #1.” You’re gonna have overwhelming support here across the entire spectrum, with so few people taking an opposite point of view, that it becomes pointless. lol

    In a way, I almost have to wonder if this won’t apply to the “Women’s suffrage movement” issue as well. The opposition being so isolated and for so few reasons that it may not work within the layout.

    But, this is the stuff that makes creating scenarios fun. *thumbs up*

  10. Woman’s suffrage was an official major issue of 1912, that is why it needs to be part of the game. Although all the major candidates support it, the idea would be, which candidate is most likely to implement it properly. It’s like with immigration reform today–both parties believe in reform in this area. If you look at the platforms, they’re more similar than dissimilar in this area. I think women’s suffrage needs to be an issue–so the candidates can talk about it in the course of the 1912 campaign, just as they did then.

  11. That’s a good point, Jonathan.

    Maybe just play into a usual breakdown of left/right arguments by making it a state (right) issue or a federal (left) issue. You could tweak it from there to avoid duplication of the left/far left and right/far right.

    Then I think it works.

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