THE supremacy of the Conservative Republicans appeared to be far more securely established when Theodore Roosevelt handed over the leadership of the party to William Howard Taft, than that of the Radical Republicans had ever been during the administrations of Abraham Lincoln and General Grant. But in fact they had won their last victory for several years. The Republican defeat at the congressional elections of 1910, indeed, proved in the event even more disastrous than the defeat of 1874, for it portended a split in the party itself and a period of divided counsels and of impotence in national politics.
The division of the Republican party in 1912 cannot be explained merely by the rivalry of factional leaders and the jealousies of ambitious men. Theodore Roosevelt was doubtless an ambitious man, but the insurgent movement existed before there was any Progressive party, and he was not the leader of the Insurgent movement. Both the major parties, as has been pointed out, have always consisted of factions, especially sectional factions, and the leaders of these factions have always been rivals for the highest honors and also, it may be supposed, more or less divided by personal jealousies. Every national convention for the nomination of a presidential candidate results in the disappointment of legitimate ambitions and the frustration of long-cherished hopes, but comparatively few have been followed by serious desertions and yet fewer by the division of parties. The Democratic party