In keeping with our Presidential Visits series (BELOW), on November 1st, 1912 Woodrow Wilson spoke at Convention Hall and the now gone Shubert Theater in the days before his victory over William Howard Taft and Theodore Roosevelt. The visit was significant in that Wilson was the only major party candidate to visit Rochester. Furthermore, as the election was drawing close, the Democrat and Chronicle claimed the speeches were Wilson’s “last pronouncement of national significance during the present campaign.” The D & C reported the crowds Wilson drew may have been the largest gatherings of the year.
In 1912, Roosevelt had split with the Republican party and ran on the Progressive Party ticket, commonly called the “Bull Moose” Party. Roosevelt felt Taft had not gone far enough in curbing corporate power. In his speeches in Rochester, according to the headline, The Democrat Wilson provided “HIS ATTITUDE TOWARDS MONOPOLIES.” Wilson said he stood “absolutely” by the Democratic platform that “private monopoly was indefensible and intolerable.” Given Wilson’s Progressive views, he even went as far as to say that direct government involvement was conceivable:
Much like today, Progressives grappled with how to regulate corporate power in an era of vast economic inequality.
Wilson did not visit Rochester during his presidency, but his Vice President Thomas R. Marshall spoke at Convention Hall on December 1st, 1914. The highlight of the talk was his allusion to Theodore Roosevelt in which Marshall called Roosevelt a “gift from God for the Democratic Party,” a nice word play on Theodore that means a gift from God in Greek. Marshall was referring to Roosevelt’s break with the Republican Party that propelled he and Wilson to office.
On October 2nd, 1912 Roosevelt’s Vice Presidential “Bull Moose” running mate, Governor Hiram Johnson of California, also spoke at Convention Hall to 5,000 “Monroe Moose” as Roosevelt’s local supporters were called. Johnson criticized Taft for leaving the county behind in social and industrial reforms.
And as the campaign neared its finish, Rochestarians could go to Sibley’s to hear the words of the candidates on the Victor:
On Taft and Roosevelt’s visits to Rochester, see
For some parallels between the 1912 and 2016 elections, see 1860/1912 Redux? from Michael Nighan)
The split between Roosevelt and Taft enabled Wilson to win Monroe County and New York both of which usually voted Republican.
Four years later in 1916, New York State and Monroe County reverted to their usual Republican leanings as Wilson lost both; in Monroe County his Republican opponent Charles Evans Hughes won between 60 and 70% of the vote. But Wilson won national re-election.
In When President John Quincy Adams visited Rochester on July 27th and 28th, 1843 and toured Mt. Hope Cemetery, the grave of Nathaniel Rochester.
In On Abraham Lincoln in Rochester from Michael Nighan, a plaque and a train station.
In Memorial Day, 1892, when President Benjamin Harrison dedicated the Soldier’s and Sailor’s Monument in Washington Square Park with Frederick Douglass. And Occupy Rochester, Benjamin Harrison, Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass in the same park Occupy would occupy.
In November 1st, 1892 when McKinley campaigned for Benjamin Harrison, the Washington park ice rink.
In October, 26th, 1898: the Rough Rider on his way to the Governor’s mansion. TR Comes to Town, again…and again…and again… by Michael Nighan., a statue of Teddy in School 29.
When Taft spoke at Convention Hall on August 23rd, 1911, the Grand Army of the Republic
In BIG BILL, BIG BELL AND SCHOOL BELLS: An ex-president, the Liberty Bell, and several thousand school teachers come to town. it was William Howard Taft.
In FDR’s first visit to Rochester as a national candidate, September 23rd, 1920. And the League of Nations., Rachel in Washington Square Park.
In October 21st, 1920 in Rochester and Governor Harding’s return to normalcy. And the school named after him., a school in North Gates.
In Governor Roosevelt’s triumphant return to the Convention Hall, October 18th, 1932, a luncheon with Eleanor Roosevelt.
In FDR in Rochester en route to a New Deal landslide, October 17th, 1936, an unfinished portrait.
In FDR in Rochester three days before he won a third term, a speech at the train station.
In October 23rd and 24th, 1952 when Ike and Adlai were in town back to back. And School 29., the Adlai E. Stevenson School.
In Nixon at the War Memorial one week before he lost a razor thin election to JFK ,the War Memorial.
In LBJ and RFK in Rochester, October 15th,1964, LBJ and RFK at the airport.
In 45 years ago when President Nixon visited Rochester. And 3 days later when East High School erupted in racial violence a media briefing at the Landmark Hotel in Pittsford.
In When Carter stumped Rochester in ’76. And Howard the Duck. it was Howard for Prez.
In 27 years ago today when President George H. W. Bush visited Wilson Magnet High School, a signed chalkboard.
In May 24th, 2005 when President Bush spent political capital in Greece. it is Dr. Bruce Kay
In 5 Meliora Weekends ago when President Clinton spoke., Great Books with President Seligman.
In , A seat at the President’s table four years later soup and a grilled cheese sandwich at Magnolia’s and an eyewitness account.
In Next stop Albany. On the road with the Trumprenuers, the Trumprenuers at the airport.
In Memories of presidential visits on Election Day in Brighton, a vote for Talker.