Geoffrey Cowan’s book, Let the People Rule: Theodore Roosevelt and the Birth of the Presidential Primary, was listed by the Library Journal as one of the top ten US History bestsellers in 2016. Cowan’s book was released in January of 2016, and has received positive reviews from several news publications, including the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Wall Street Journal.
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The Republican establishment has denounced Donald Trump so much so that only the 1912 election – when angered Theodore Roosevelt supporters left the National Convention after Howard Taft’s nomination – comes close. However, “only about a half-dozen GOP senators backed Roosevelt, and less than 15 percent of the convention delegates bolted with him,” Cowan told the Atlantic. Meanwhile, according to the article, nearly one-third of Republican Senators and Governors have stated they will not vote for Trump.
Professor Graham G. Dodds of Concordia University reviewed Geoffrey Cowan’s Let the People Rule: Theodore Roosevelt and the Birth of the Presidential Primary for Volume 46, Issue 3 of the Presidential Studies Quarterly.
“Cowan’s book provides a detailed account of the 1912 campaign, the GOP convention, and TR’s creation of a new party. This is no dry historical tome: it is highly engaging, with a host of compelling characters engaged in great political drama.”
George W. Bush’s former Chief of Staff Karl Rove reviewed Geoffrey Cowan’s Let the People Rule: Theodore Roosevelt and the Birth of the Presidential Primary in the “Books” section of his website, dubbing it “a great read.”
“Cowan has written a lively account of Theodore Roosevelt’s effort to have the Republican Party oust his one-time friend, President William Howard Taft, and install himself as its nominee for the White House in 1912…Well researched and written with the gusto of someone who knows and loves politics.”
Geoffrey Cowan is featured in Retro Report’s new video series “Conventional Wisdom.” In partnership with POLITICO, the eight-part series focuses on sharing the stories of past U.S. political conventions and their impact on our current political landscape.
In this episode, entitled “The Modern Primary,” Cowan is featured alongside other scholars and historians while reviewing the origins and impact of the primary process – and especially Theodore Roosevelt and the election of 1912 – on American politics.
Watch the full episode here.
Geoffrey Cowan, author of Let the People Rule: Theodore Roosevelt and the Birth of the Presidential Primary, was interviewed on The Brian Lehrer Show, Monday, July 18th.
As part of the show’s ’30 Issues in 30 Weeks’ series, Cowan was joined by David Eisenhower, Director of the Institute for Public Service at the Annenberg School for Communication at University of Pennsylvania, to discuss the history of the Republican nomination conventions.
Listen here for the full interview.
A review of Cowan’s new book, Let the People Rule: Theodore Roosevelt and the Birth of the Presidential Primary was published by Thomas Curwen for the Los Angeles Times, Monday, July 18th.
Curwen discussed the connections and impact of the history of the country’s first primary and the current presidential election, stating:
“No musty account of top-coated and mustachioed politicians, “Let the People Rule: Theodore Roosevelt and the Birth of the Presidential Primary” is a lively, relevant primer in the sausage-making of candidate selection…While “Let the People Rule” might reawaken traumatic memories of the last 11 months, it is a bracing reminder that we’re not above such tactics today.”
Geoffrey Cowan was interviewed by Avery Director of the Library David S. Zeidberg for an evening lecture at The Huntington. The two discussed Cowan’s new book, Let the People Rule: Theodore Roosevelt and the Birth of the Presidential Primary and how the 1912 primaries relate to Cowan’s involvement in the 1968 and to the uncharacteristic primaries this presidential season.
“[During this election cycle],” said Cowan, “people are asking in a more profound and serious way, maybe – Donald Trump is asking that question, and Bernie Sanders is asking that question – ‘Are primaries fair? Is the system rigged?’ And, of course, in a way, they are rigged, and they were rigged in 1968 when I played a role in changing the rules of the Democratic Party and they were rigged to some extent in 1912, because that’s the year when Roosevelt actually won most of the primaries but didn’t get the nomination.”
Listen to the full lecture here.
Harvard professor Jill Lepore discussed the themes of voter empowerment in Geoffrey Cowan’s book Let the People Rule: Theodore Roosevelt and the Birth of the Presidential Primary for her New Yorker article “How to Steal an Election.”
The election of 1912 was the first in which a significant number of delegates to the nominating Conventions were elected in state primaries, as Geoffrey Cowan writes in ‘Let the People Rule,’ a book that takes its title from Theodore Roosevelt’s campaign slogan. Roosevelt wanted to wrest the Republican nomination from the incumbent President, William Taft, and saw the primaries as his only chance. ‘The great fundamental issue now before the Republican Party and before our people can be stated briefly,’ he said. ‘It is: Are the American people fit to govern themselves, to rule themselves, to control themselves? I believe they are. My opponents do not.’