William Howard Taft

Statement Conceding the Presidential Election

November 05, 1912

The returns insure the election of Gov. Wilson to the Presidency. This means an early change in the economic policy of the Government in reference to the tariff. If this change can be made without halting prosperity I sincerely hope it may be.

The vote for Mr. Roosevelt, the third party candidate, and for Mr. Debs, the Socialist candidate, is a warning that their propaganda in favor of fundamental changes in our constitutional representative Government has formidable support.

While the experiment of a change in the tariff is being carried out by the Democratic Administration, it behooves Republicans to gather again to the party standard and pledge anew their faith in their party's principles and to organize again to defend the constitutional government handed down to us by our fathers.

We must make clear to the young men of the country who have been weaned away from sound principles of government by promise of reforms, impossible of accomplishment by mere legislation, that patriotism and common sense require them to return to a support of our Constitution. Without compromising our principles, we must convince and win back former Republicans and we must reinforce our ranks with constitution-loving Democrats.

We favor every step of progress toward more perfect equality of opportunity and ridding society of injustice. But we know that all progress worth making is possible with our present form of Government and that to sacrifice that which is of the highest value in our Governmental structure for undefined and impossible reforms is the wildest folly. We must face the danger with a clear knowledge of what it is.

The Republican Party is equal to the task. It has had no nobler cause. Let us close ranks and march forward to do battle for the right and the true.

Note: This statement was released at 11:00 pm from the President's brother's home in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Source: "Taft Owning Defeat, Calls to Deserters," New York Times, November 6, 1912, p. 5.

William Howard Taft, Statement Conceding the Presidential Election Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/345978

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