The Trusts in the Campaign


The trust issue figured in the 1912 campaign less than the tariff issue.  The trust issue, however, gave rise to thoughtful statements that defined Roosevelt's "New Nationalism" and Wilson's "New Freedom."  The trust issue also was at the bedrock of Taft's views about the proper relationship between the government and business.  And the trust issue was at the heart of the socialist complaints about capitalism.

The trust issue related closely to the tariff issue (the protective tariff was, it opponents claimed, "the mother of trusts") and to the cost of living issue.

Thus "trusts" were very much in the public eye in 1912.  The attention they received resulted from a public discussion extending well back into the nineteenth century.  Each platform addressed some aspect of "the trusts," and each candidate spoke to the issue.

The 1912 campaign followed closely on the heels of Supreme Court decisions ordering two of America's most visible and most powerful corporations dissolved.  In 1911 the Court broke up both the "oil trust" and the "tobacco trust."  In 1911 the Taft administration launched a case against the "steel trust."

The Democrats especially tried to use the trust issue against their opponents.

Continue with recent attacks on the trusts!