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Utah Politics, 1912-1918

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Publication Type thesis
School or College College of Social & Behavioral Science
Department Political Science
Author Stauffer, Kenneth G.
Title Utah Politics, 1912-1918
Date 1972
Description The Utah elections of 1916 and 1918 were Democratic victories sandwiched between two periods of Republican dominance. In 1912, only Utah and Vermont gave their electoral votes to the Republican presidential candidate. Theodore Roosevelt's Progressive party divided, but did not defeat Utah Republicans. With a strong party organization, a friendly press, and candidates who were personally popular, Republicans retained control of the state that year. A large and influential conservative element in the state did not accept Progressivism. Most conspicuous was the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day S&ints which opposed Progressive principles enunciated by the Democratic and Progressive parties. The 1912 Progressive and Democratic vote, combined, exceeded the Republican vote. In 1914 Progressives and Democrats united behind James H. Moyle in an attempt to unseat the leader of the state's Republican machine, Senator Reed Smoot. In a close election, Smoot won, largely on the strength of his reputation as a champion of high tariffs and a defender of the Mormon Church of which he was an apostle. Progressive James g. Mays was elected to the lower house of Congress in 1914. Democrats, again allied with the Progressives, won the election of 1916. President Wilson's campaign slogan, "He kept us out of I,var," capitalized on voter fear of becoming involved in World War I. In this election the Democrats had a united party and two popular candidates: Woodrow Wilson and gubernatorial candidate Simon Bamberger. The Republican party was divided as Governor Spry attempted to gain a third term nomination in spite of his veto of a popular prohibition bill. Prohibitionists and other Republicans demanding an end to "boss rule," defeated Spry and Congressman Joseph Howell, in the nominating conventions. After obtaining assurances from Spry that a third party, non-Mormon in leadership, would not result from the Governor's defeat, Smoot shrewdly avoided taking part in the intra-party conflict. The Smoot machine was destroyed and Senator Smoot discontinued management of the Utah Republican party. Nationally, 1918 was a Republican year, but: not in Utah. In many states Republicans won by' playing upon economic discontent and impatience with administration conduct of World War I. There was less discontent and impatience in Utah and its press was less critical of President Wilson. Both Democratic congressmen were reelected after a campaign in which voters were urged to return Democrats to Congress to support the President and his fourteen-point plan of peace. Wilson's peace plan, including a league of nations, still was somewhat vague and inseparably associated with winning the war. The Mormon Church was a major factor in creating and maintaining a Republican majority in Utah until 1912. The L.D.S. Church remained a "sore spot" in state politics until 1918. The Mormon/non-Mormon conflict ended with the destruction of the Smoot machine and the deataths of Church President Joseph F. Smith and Salt Lake Tribune owner Thomas Kearns in 1918. The Progressive party in Utah was more concerned with Progressive principles than with personalities. This enabled it to unite with Democrats and finally, in 1917, to see the adoption of Progressive legislation within the state. Progressivism and domestic issues were not the primary causes of Utah's Democratic victories, however. The main topics in the elections of 1916 and 1918 concerned foreign affairs. In every election fr9m 1912 to 1920 the winning party in Utah was that which appeared most conservative or cautious on the dominant questions.
Type Text
Publisher University of Utah
Subject Utah; Politics and government; 20th century
Dissertation Name Master of Science
Language eng
Rights Management (c) Kenneth G. Stauffer
Format Medium application/.pdf
ARK ark:/87278/s68s9h67
Setname ir_etd
Date Created 2019-10-28
Date Modified 2019-10-30
ID 1475186
Reference URL https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s68s9h67
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