Sunday, January 9, 2011

Teddy Roosevelt Was A Socialist!!!!!

Teddy Roosevelt broke from the Republicans and ran as the "Bull Moose Party" (officially the "Progressive Party") candidate for President in 1912. The platform of the new party included a lengthy section on "Social and Industrial Justice." This included a pledge to establish "a system of social insurance".

See this article at the website for a decent discussion of Barack Obama's claim that his Health Care Reform is in line with what Teddy Roosevelt envisioned almost a century ago. Their conclusion is "Clearly, Obama is on solid ground tracing the push for national health care back to Theodore Roosevelt."

Much of the Progressive platform was accomplished over the following years and decades. Women's Suffrage. Prohibition of child labor. Minimum wage laws. The establishment of a Department of Labor. Many of these reforms were actively opposed by the Supreme Court for many years based on the claim that they were all unconstitutional, and were only able to become law after FDR's famous showdown with the Supreme Court in 1937 (see the previous post The "Unconstitutional" Canard for more on that).

Here is the entire section of the Progressive Party 1912 Platform on "Social and Industrial Justice" and also the section on "Health" (link):


The supreme duty of the Nation is the conservation of human resources through an enlightened measure of social and industrial justice. We pledge ourselves to work unceasingly in State and Nation for:

Effective legislation looking to the prevention of industrial accidents, occupational diseases, overwork, involuntary unemployment, and other injurious effects incident to modern industry;

The fixing of minimum safety and health standards for the various occupations, and the exercise of the public authority of State and Nation, including the Federal Control over interstate commerce, and the taxing power, to maintain such standards;

The prohibition of child labor;

Minimum wage standards for working women, to provide a "living wage" in all industrial occupations;

The general prohibition of night work for women and the establishment of an eight hour day for women and young persons;

One day's rest in seven for all wage workers;

The eight hour day in continuous twenty-four hour industries;

The abolition of the convict contract labor system; substituting a system of prison production for governmental consumption only; and the application of prisoners' earnings to the support of their dependent families;

Publicity as to wages, hours and conditions of labor; full reports upon industrial accidents and diseases, and the opening to public inspection of all tallies, weights, measures and check systems on labor products;

Standards of compensation for death by industrial accident and injury and trade disease which will transfer the burden of lost earnings from the families of working people to the industry, and thus to the community;

The protection of home life against the hazards of sickness, irregular employment and old age through the adoption of a system of social insurance adapted to American use;

The development of the creative labor power of America by lifting the last load of illiteracy from American youth and establishing continuation schools for industrial education under public control and encouraging agricultural education and demonstration in rural schools;

The establishment of industrial research laboratories to put the methods and discoveries of science at the service of American producers;

We favor the organization of the workers, men and women, as a means of protecting their interests and of promoting their progress.


We favor the union of all the existing agencies of the Federal Government dealing with the public health into a single national health service without discrimination against or for any one set of therapeutic methods, school of medicine, or school of healing with such additional powers as may be necessary to enable it to perform efficiently such duties in the protection of the public from preventable diseases as may be properly undertaken by the Federal authorities, including the executing of existing laws regarding pure food, quarantine and cognate subjects, the promotion of vital statistics and the extension of the registration area of such statistics, and co-operation with the health activities of the various States and cities of the Nation.