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U.S. Presidential Election 1908

The election of 1908 was the thirty-first presidential election in the United States. The election was a competition between Republican William Howard Taft and three-time nominee for the Democratic Party, William Jennings Bryan. Bryan suffered his worst and final loss in this election, defeated by Taft, who became the twenty-seventh president of the United States.
Incumbent President Theodore Roosevelt had decided not to seek a third term for this election, endorsing instead William Howard Taft, his Secretary of War. Roosevelt used his influence to persuade the Republican Party to back his choice. The Republican Party had started using the statewide primary election system to select their candidates for the national convention. Only a few states participated in these preference primaries, choosing William Howard Taft. Philander C. Knox in second, followed by Charles Evans Hughes. The major vice presidential candidates for the Republican Party were Representative James S. Sherman, Edward F. Murphy, and Curtis Guild. Sherman won the nomination almost unanimously.

The Democratic Party chose to nominate William Jennings Bryan for his third shot at the presidency. The party strategy for the 1908 election was to support a progressive candidate, as opposed to the previous election's more conservative candidate, Parker, who lost. John Worth Kern was chosen unanimously to run as the party's vice presidential nominee. 

There were forty-six states participating in the election, after Oklahoma had become a state in November 1907. In the election of 1908, the nation was divided geographically north to south, with Taft securing the northern and western states, and Bryan taking most of the South. The north's wealthy businessmen supported Taft and the Republican Party. Bryan's third loss was also his worst, as he lost the support of the laborers he had carried before.

Taft became the President of the United States. Vice President James S. Sherman died at the end of his term, on October 30, 1912, only a week before the next presidential election.

The breakdown of candidates and electoral votes was as follows:

Presidential CandidateHome StatePartyElectoral VotesRunning Mate
William Howard TaftOhioRepublican321James S. Sherman
William Jennings BryanNebraskaDemocratic162John Worth Kern
Eugene V. DebsIndianaSocialist0Benjamin Hanford
Eugene W. ChaflinIllinoisProhibition0Aaron Sherman Watkins
Total  483