At the turn of the 20th century, political activism in the United States reached a fever pitch. In no other place was this more visible than the spirited policy debates between William Howard Taft and Theodore Roosevelt. In April 1911, against this backdrop, thirty-two young men came together under the leadership of Benjamin M. Day, along with, Philip J. McCook, Lloyd Carpenter Griscom, Frederick Paul Keppel, Henry W. Goddard, Edward R. Finch, Alfred Conkling Coxe Jr., and Albert S. Bard to organize young Republicans in New York City. They sought a forum where they could work within and for the Republican Party, yet be free to champion local candidates and criticize party policies when warranted. To this end, these young men formed the New York Young Republican Club, as an offshoot of the earlier New York Young Men’s Republican Club which was founded in 1879, which itself was a descendant of the even earlier New York Young Men’s Republican Union founded in 1856.
The club grew quickly and in December 1911 held their first gala. Senator William Edgar Borah was the keynote speaker at the gala for Guest of Honor, President of the United States William Howard Taft. On February 19, 1912, the club formally incorporated as the New York Young Republican Club Inc. with the express purpose:
“To promote and maintain the principles of the Republican party; to foster within the Republican party and make practical in service of the municipality, state and nation, the idealism characteristic of youth, to correct in our own party that tendency of all parties to make organization an end rather than a means; to develop sound principle and public spirit in party politics, to promote honest and fair electoral methods, to the end that the expression of the popular will by whatever party or body, shall be as free, untrammelled and equal as possible, to resist and expose political corruption, to advocate merit rather than partisan service as entitling to public office, to watch legislation, to encourage public attention to and efficiently criticize the conduct of government.”
Since that day, the Club has worked diligently to further the mission entrusted to us by the founding members for over a century. As stewards of a proud tradition of advocacy, we invite you to join us as we build the Club and prepare it for the next 100 years.