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By Eleanorgreen29
On July 17, 2019

Lesson Plan: Presidential Primary Challengers

1912 Challenge to President Taft

Kristie Miller, author of Ellen and Edith: Woodrow Wilson’s First Ladies, talked about former president Teddy Roosevelt's challenge to incumbent president William Taft in 1912, and their campaign against Woodrow Wilson.


In this lesson, students will learn about five high-profile challenges to incumbent presidents from within their own party: in 1912, 1968, 1976, 1980, and 1992. In each of these elections, the sitting president faced a strong challenge in the primary, and although they all won their respective primaries, each ultimately lost in the general election. There is an optional extension to research potential challenges to President Trump in the 2020 Republican primary.


Additional Resources


  • Bull Moose Party
  • Challenger
  • Delegates
  • Détente
  • Incumbent
  • Party Convention
  • Primary Election


Campaigns & ElectionsPolitical PartiesU.S. History


High SchoolUniversity