The Bull Moose Party was formed by former President Theodore Roosevelt, after a split in the Republican Party between him and President William Howard Taft. The party became known as the Bull Moose Party after journalists quoted Roosevelt saying that he felt "fit as a bull moose" shortly after the new party was formed. Officially, it was called the Progressive Party of 1912.

In 1912, Roosevelt was unhappy with President Taft's time in office. He put his name forward to become the Republican Party's nominee. The Republican Party chose to stick with Taft. This angered Roosevelt who walked out of the party convention. He then formed his own party, the Progressive Party, in protest. Hiram Johnson was chosen as Roosevelt's running mate.

True to Roosevelt's progressive beliefs, the platform of the party called for major reforms including women's suffrage, social welfare assistance for women and children, farm relief, revisions in banking, health insurance in industries, and worker's compensation.

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