Theodore Roosevelt campaigning for the Bull Moose Party in 1912

In this polarizing political season of Republican and Democratic conventions, it seems appropriate to remember the Bull Moose Party, founded in 1912 by the former 26th President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt. The formal name for the party was the Progressive Party and it was created after Roosevelt, a Republican, split with the Republican Party.

The party became known as the Bull Moose Party after an assassination attempt on Roosevelt on October 14, 1912. While making a speech in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Roosevelt was shot by John F. Schrank. After he was shot, Roosevelt addressed the crowd saying:

“Friends, I shall ask you to be as quiet as possible. I don’t know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot; but it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose. But fortunately I had my manuscript, so you see I was going to make a long speech, and there is a bullet – there is where the bullet went through – and it probably saved me from it going into my heart. The bullet is in me now, so that I cannot make a very long speech, but I will try.”

According to the Wickipedia entry, after the speech Roosevelt told reporters, who were questioning his health, “I am as strong as a Bull Moose.”

Doctors determined that it would be more dangerous to remove the bullet than to just leave it alone. Roosevelt carried the bullet in him for the rest of his life.

Shrank, a religious zealot, said that the ghost of William McKinley had advised him to shoot Roosevelt to avenge his death. (McKinley was assassinated while Roosevelt was vice-president and thus Roosevelt became president finishing McKinley’s term)

Unhappily for Roosevelt, his Bull Moose Party (and also the Republican Party) lost the election to the Democratic Party, whose candidate was Woodrow Wilson.

After loosing the election, Roosevelt went on an expedition into the jungles of Brazil, along with the Brazilian explorer Candido Rondon. During the expedition, it was decided explore a jungle river to see where it ended. Because no one knew the course of the river, it was called “The River of Doubt”. Roosevelt was seriously injured on this trip and he never fully recovered.

Roosevelt wrote about this trip in his book “Through the Brazilian Wilderness,” which we have recorded as an audio book read by Andre Stojka. It is available for download at our website,,, or for CD purchase at our website or