POLI 243 Lecture 19: The US

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Explaining the Republican Disaster in 1912
Politics of trade during Taft's Term
March 16, 2016
[1912 Election Personalities]
Woodrow Wilson wins election due to split republican vote (Roosevelt Bull Moose and
o Personalities play into public view of presidents
o Roosevelt: charismatic, popular, placed into presidency after McKinley's death,
refuses a 3rd term
o Taft: handled stress by eating, fell asleep during meetings, less social/charismatic
than Roosevelt
Roosevelt hands republican candidacy to Taft, arguments ensue
roosevelt's ego?
o Republicans dominate House, Senate, and Presidency before the 1912 election
[Changes in the American Economy]
US industrializing relative position vs the rest of the world changes due to switch from
capital-scarce to capital-abundant economy
o Reflects change in the country's endowment of factors of production
o Land expand the frontier
o Labor waves of immigration, disaster
o Capital -- capital coming in (British currency), people within the country saving
o Ratios of factors of production change due to increase in captial alters country's
Economic consequences
o Net Creditor in the early 1900s, US intervenes in Latin America and the Carribean
due to property ownership abroad
o Changes in export items (early on wheat, cotton, agricultural goods) after the
1900s industrial goods (machinery, steel, manufactured goods)
Political effects
o Stolper-Saumelson view: owners of capital should abandon protectionism (1890s)
and back freer trade (1900s on) ( more abundance of capital, same amount of land
and labor)
o Sector-Specific View: capital and labor tied to capital-intensive industries should
switch positions
Labor heavy industries will not switch positions and will remain partial to
Look at what the country is exporting: steel and agricultural machinery
alteration in stance towards freer trade
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