The Presidential Election of 1908 marked a different time in American History.
Theodore Roosevelt had honored his promise not to seek another term and had publicly backed William Howard Taft as the next Republican Candidate. Roosevelt had ushered in an era of nationalism.
The American economy was robust. Baseball was beginning to become the national pastime, and western states were being populated and gaining influence in each election.
The Democrats nominated William Jennings Bryan. Bryan had been defeated in the past by William McKinley but still held much influence in the Democratic party.
Republicans: Taft undercut Bryan's liberal support by accepting some of his reformist ideas, and Roosevelt's progressive policies blurred the distinctions between the parties. Republicans also used the slogan "Vote for Taft now, you can vote for Bryan anytime," a sarcastic reference to Bryan's two failed previous presidential campaigns.
Democrats: With the Free Silver issue no longer dominant, Bryan campaigned on a progressive platform attacking "government by privilege." His campaign slogan, "Shall the People Rule?" was featured on numerous posters and campaign memorabilia.
The Socialist Party saw large gains during this time frame. Prohibition, Women's Suffrage, and Civil Rights continued to gain momentum and gather support from various third parties and mainstream parties.
William Jennings Bryan never had much of a chance in this election. Taft and Roosevelt had adopted some of the ideas of the Democratic party, which did not give him much of an issue to stand on.
Theodore Roosevelt's popularity also pushed Taft over the finish line as he was one of the most populist presidents in the modern era.
While Bryan carried the South, the lost almost all of the West and was overwhelmed in the North.
William Howard Taft would win the election with 321 Electoral Votes to Bryan's 162 electoral. He would go into the White House as the protege of Roosevelt and leave as his political enemy.
Taft was a brilliant legal mind whose goal was to become a Supreme Court Justice and not the President of the United States.