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Theodore Roosevelt, the most reformist of Republican presidents, handed victory to the Democrats by running against his own successor.


McKinley's assassination in 1901 gave the presidency to Republican Theodore Roosevelt, who became an ardent reformer and crusader against corruption. Elected to a full term in 1904, Roosevelt chose his secretary of war, William Howard Taft, to succeed him in 1908. Taft won the election, but he lost favor among progressives, including Roosevelt, who wanted wider political, social and industrial reforms. In 1912, Roosevelt formed a new party, the Progressive or "Bull Moose" Party, to challenge Taft. This division in the Republican Party allowed Democrat Woodrow Wilson to win the election.