Woodrow Wilson


Whom did he defeat for the 1912 general presidential election?

Wilson defeated Joseph Beauchamp “Champ” Clark, the Speaker of the House of Representatives from Missouri; Oscar Wilder Underwood, a U.S. congressman from Alabama; and Governor Judson Harmon from Ohio. On the first ballot, Clark received more votes than Wilson and the other candidates. Later in the process, William Jennings Bryan endorsed Wilson, which caused a seismic shift in the delegate voting. Wilson ended up prevailing on the forty-sixth ballot.

Wilson defeated two former presidents: incumbent Republican President William Howard Taft and the third-party candidacy of former President Theodore Roosevelt, who broke from the Republican ranks to form the Progressive, or Bull Moose, Party. In simplest terms, Roosevelt and Taft split much of the Republican vote, enabling Wilson as the lone Democrat to capture the election. He garnered 435 electoral votes to 88 for Roosevelt and only 8 for Taft.


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