February 10: T.R.-eachery!; Who Are You Calling Money Trust?

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Robert La Follette claims he was double-crossed by Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson calls for change in Kentucky, and House Democrats want a money trust explanation from Williams Jennings Bryan. (Click here for an introduction to The 1912 Project; click here for previous installments.) 

T.R. Lied! Robert La Follette seems to have finally recovered from his mental and/or physical collapse in Philadelphia last week and he's mad as hell. See, while the newspapers were quick to dispatch him from the race as exhausted, mentally ill, etc. after he condemned newspapers as tools of the Money Trust, he thinks it was all a trick. According to "Senator La Follette's warmest champions," as The New York Times puts it, Theodore Roosevelt told La Follette he wasn't going to run in 1912. Yesterday The Milwaukee Journal ("La Follette's stanchest supporter in the West") ran "a statement of attitude of Mr. La Follette toward Roosevelt" and it is bitter about Roosevelt stealing all of his thunder. "La Follette started the fight at a time when the prospects for preventing the renomination of President Taft were ridiculously small," it says. "Col. Roosevelt at that time positively eliminated himself from the 1912 fight."

The statement also has a more charitable take on why La Follette was so suddenly and graciously bounced from the Republican field: since Roosevelt had deceived so many by saying he wouldn't run, his former supporters needed an excuse to bolt from the Wisconsin progressive.

Poor La Follette.

Wilson's Banquet Tour Continues A different day, a different hotel ballroom for Woodrow Wilson. Last night he was in Louisville, Kentucky, to talk to local supporters. The Meriden (Conn.) Morning Record carries a bit of the remarks:

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Who Are You Calling Money Trust? Williams Jennings Bryan, the Democratic nominee in 1908 and longtime critic of Wall Street, angered the House Banking Committee, now in control of the Democrats following the 1910 midterms, by suggesting that they would go light on the financiers. According to The New York Times, Bryan issued a statement warning Democrats, "The fact that the money trust wants that committee intrusted with the investigation is proof positive that it thinks it can control that commitee." His reward is a trip before the Banking Committee, where chairman Arsène Pujo of Louisiana would like an explanation of what Bryan meant. "There has been much loose talk by uninformed persons about monopolistic control of financial conditions in this country," said Pujo.

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