Joseph Medill McCormick to Chauncey Dewey, November 19, 1912

Progressive National Committee

November 19, 1912

Hon. Chauncey Dewey,
Dewey Ranch
Manhattan, Kansas.

My dear Dewey:-

As I may be out of town on your return next Sunday, I write to suggest that you, as official head of the Party in the state, call at an early date a conference of about a dozen Progressive leaders in Illinois, who are earnestly concerned regarding the future of the Party in the state.

The conference which I had with Colonel Roosevelt and Senator Dixon filled me with their great concern about the future of the Progressive Party. While the National ticket did very well, Colonel Roosevelt had pointed out in a letter which I have on my desk, that in no instance did we elect a Governor, and that, in some instances, where Taft was a bad third, our candidate for Governor also ran in third place.

We are undisciplined, and like most parties liable to disintegration, because of untrained individualism and faction spirit. It is impossible to carry on a campaign without money. We raised very little pending the last election, and that little, for the most part, came from about three men, exclusive of the unusual contributions of candidates.

We know that the Republican Party in this state intends to make its organization more respectable. Men like Cummins, Kenyon and Hadley are making their plans for the future. In the next campaign, we will not have the advantage of Roosevelt's name on the ticket. We are threatened with defections in the press. These are some of the dangers which lie before us. [page 2]

It seems to me that we must add to the number of our newspaper supporters, and to the number of men of moderate tendencies and moderate fortunes who may be expected to finance the next campaign.

If we are to make legislative record our bills must be well drawn and ready for introduction when the legislature meets. Men and women who are really experts ought to be consulted and induced to help in drafting the bills. Merriam, Robins and Harris are all authorities on subjects with which we will have to deal. The bills once drawn, we may have to campaign through part of December and maybe into January in their behalf.

I do not look for much help from the other parties, unless we develop public opinion in support of half a dozen measures. We will have to get the best Democratic speaker possible, and I think we shall have to fall back on the present Democratic rules in the House of Representatives in Washington as the most liberal attainable. The Democratic minority is so large that, with the assistance of certain available Republicans, i imagine that they can control the Hose a great part of the time.

My office will know how to reach me on the telephone, near Peoria, where I have gone for a little vacation.

Very truly yours,

Copy to: Harold Ickes,
Miss Jane Addams,
Chas. E. Merriam
Raymond Robins,
Fletcher Dboyns,
John F. Bass
Walter Clyde Jones