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    Taft outlines his strategy to keep the Republican party unified in the 1910 elections

    William H. Taft Typed Letter Signed as President. One page (of a bifolium) on White House stationery, 7" x 8.75", Beverly, Massachusetts; August 21, 1910. A letter from Taft to New Jersey congressman and member of the National Congressional Republican Committee, H. C. Loudenslager, concerning a letter the president wrote to William McKinley, chair of the National Congressional Republican Committee about the 1910 elections: "I send you my letter to McKinley. I think it is of great importance that it should not be published until after the 6th of September, when the primaries are held in Wisconsin, because, as you will see, I am urging all regulars to vote for insurgent candidates, and all insurgents to vote for regular candidates, where they happen to be chosen, for I would rather have an insurgent than a Democrat and we must make our party front as united as possible. I do not, however, wish to minimize the importance of selecting regulars where they can be selected as party candidates, and for that reason I prefer to delay the publication of my letter until after those preliminary contests are finished, at least the most important ones remaining in Wisconsin... Wm. H. Taft."

    Taft had written to William B. McKinley (1856-1926), Republican congressman from Illinois and current chair of the National Congressional Republican Committee, outlining his defense of the Republican Party, particularly passage of the Payne-Aldrich Tariff, as it entered the 1910 elections. The purpose of Taft's letter, which was published by the National Congressional Republican Committee on the eve of the elections, was to unite the two warring factions of the Republican Party, the regulars or conservatives and the insurgents or progressives.

    The progressive wing of the Republican Party, many of whom were followers of former president Theodore Roosevelt, believed that Taft had betrayed his predecessor by siding with the conservative wing of the party. The progressives or insurgents, as they were called, were particularly critical of the Payne-Aldrich Tariff, which they believed did not reduce tariff rates enough. Taft, who hoped to prevent the split in the party from aiding Democratic candidates in the 1910 elections, sought to unite the party with this letter, written from his summer residence in Beverly, Massachusetts. The fact that he mentioned that his letter to McKinley should not be made public after the Wisconsin primaries may be due to the fact that he thought his support of the Payne-Aldrich Tariff in the letter would damage the chances of regular Republican candidates against their insurgent opponents.

    In the end, Taft's letter did little to help his party, which was trounced in the November 1910 elections. As a result of the elections, Democrats took control of the U.S. House of Representatives for the first time since 1894 and picked up ten seats in the U.S. Senate, leaving the Republicans in control with a smaller majority. Ex. R. Douglas Stuart.

    Condition: Two horizontal folds, otherwise fine condition.

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