Interpreting Data

Three-Way Election of 1912

All documents and text associated with this activity are printed below, followed by a worksheet for student responses.


The Presidential Election of 1912 was one of our most complicated, with three major candidates running for the position.

Through examining this political cartoon of the time, what do you think the cartoonist was saying about the election and the inner thoughts of the candidates?


Untitled. [How They’re Acting and How They Feel]

This cartoon depicts Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and William Howard Taft before the 1912 Presidential Election. The divided cartoons reveals the confident public persona each candidate projects—how they’re acting— versus the nervousness each candidate undoubtedly feels.



Name ________________________
Class ________________________

Three-Way Election of 1912

Interpreting Data

Examine the document(s) and any teacher hints included in this activity. Think about how each document and hint relates to the larger questions being asked. If instructed, use the space below each image to comment on the document. Put the letter that corresponds to each comment in the appropriate place on the image. Write your conclusion response in the space provided.


Teacher Hints

  1. Who created this document? If you’re not sure, who do you think?

  2. What was Teddy Roosevelt’s public persona like?

  3. How about Woodrow Wilson’s?

  4. And Taft?

  5. What do you know about the 1912 Presidential Election?

    What has likely changed in the last 100 years regarding polling and other forms of voter research?

  6. Why would each of these three outwardly confident-looking men possibly be feeling this way, according to the cartoonist?


Consider the Source

Fill out the worksheet below to analyze the source of the document(s) included in this activity.

1) How do you think this data was collected?

2) Who do you think created the document(s)?

3) Why do you think the document(s) were created?

4) What questions does this raise in your mind?