G. N. Green


During the early weeks of 1912, President William Howard Taft became ruefully aware that a former White House occupant, Theodore Roosevelt, would be his major opponent when the Republican Party held its presidential nominating convention at Chicago in June. Taft’s political aides were scouring the southern states, searching out Roosevelt Republican office-holders and dismissing them whenever found. Local postmasters were advised that if they did not bring a pro-Taft delegation to their state convention, they would no longer be deemed available for reappointment. Another Taft strategem was to hold the southern state conventions ahead of the usual time and before the Roosevelt men could organize. For awhile Roosevelt Republicans remained hopeful over the possibility that many job-conscious Republicans would support their candidate, since he was so widely regarded as “the only Republican who could win.” In January and February 1912, Roosevelt organizers throughout the South were led by Ormsby McHarg, a New York attorney who has been described as a “hard-bitten, experienced, practical politician.” He attempted by various means to bring these men into the Roosevelt camp.