Pinback button promoting Theodore Roosevelt for president, 1912. The Whitehead and Hoag Co., Newark, New Jersey.
No president since Washington enjoyed greater popularity upon his departure from office than Theodore Roosevelt. Conscious of the fact that he could have easily won reelection in 1908, he nonetheless felt constrained by a pledge he had made in 1904 not to seek another term. His annointed successor, William Howard Taft, instead took his place in the Presidential Chair. Taft, however, did not follow in his predecessor's reformist mold, and the two men grew apart.
By 1912, with the likely prospect of Taft's reelection, Roosevelt had concluded that the only way to complete the unfinished work of his administration was to run again himself. Unable to deny Taft the Republican nomination, he took the highly unorthodox step of lauching a third party campaign, running as the nominee of the Progressive Party. Polling over 4 million votes nationwide and coming in second, Roosevelt drew enough support away from Taft to throw the election to the Democrat, Woodrow Wilson.
Pinbacks from Roosevelt's historic 1912 campaign are scarce and much in demand among collectors, particularly those picturing the candidate. Here's a classic gem.