Progressive Presidents

Anna Gordon

Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt was born on October 27, 1858 in New York City to Theodore Roosevelt Sr. and Martha Bulloch. Before becoming the 26th president of the United States, Roosevelt was a New York City representative, captain of the National Guard and, minority leader of the New York Assembly. In 1901, Roosevelt became the 26th President of the United States. He went on to serve two terms, and was able to create many environmental and political reforms. Roosevelt died on January 6, 1919 at the age of 60.

Report Card

  • Leadership: A

Roosevelt was an excellent leader. He was extremely popular with the people, and he was even able to set the precedent for all future Presidents to come. He illustrated what a successful modern presidency should look like.


  • Organization: A

Roosevelt accomplished many great things in office including the Square Deal, which was Roosevelt's domestic program formed upon three basic ideas: conservation of natural resources, control of corporations, and consumer protection.


  • Professionalism: A

Roosevelt was well-liked by the public. Many progressive reformers supported his take on big business regulation. Even though he became president because of McKinley's death, he gained popularity during his first term and was elected to a second term.



  • Contributions: A

Roosevelt made many lasting contributions that are still very relevant today. He made an addition to the Monroe Doctrine called the Roosevelt Corollary. The Roosevelt Corollary stated that the United States would intervene as a last resort to ensure that other nations in the Western Hemisphere fulfilled their obligations to international creditors. This came about after tension between Venezuela and its creditors worried Roosevelt that European powers would attempt to invade Venezuela. Also, Roosevelt initiated and oversaw the building of the Panama Canal.

Theodore Roosevelt | 60-Second Presidents | PBS

William Howard Taft

William Howard Taft was born on September 15, 1857, in Cincinnati, Ohio. Taft attended Yale University before attending University of Cincinnati to study law. Taft became the 27th president in 1909 and served until 1913. Taft "busted" twice as many trusts as Roosevelt had in his presidency. After his presidency, Taft served as chief justice of the Supreme Court from 1921 to 1930, making him the only man in U.S. history to hold the highest post in both the executive and judicial branches. Taft died on March 8, 1930 from complications from heart disease.

Report Card

  • Leadership: B
William Howard Taft was elected into office because he was promoted by Roosevelt, who was popular with the general public, so Taft was also popular with the people. Taft held many legal leadership positions prior to the presidency, but was unable to be as sufficient as a leader in politics.


  • Organization: C
Taft was able to bust over 90 trusts during his one term in office. Taft's "Dollar Diplomacy" plan, which was a form of American foreign policy to further its aim in Latin America and East Asia through use of its economic power by guaranteeing loans made to foreign countries, failed and ended up costing America.


  • Professionalism: D
Taft lacked initiative to get things done while in office. He failed to live up to the high progressive standards that were set by Roosevelt. Also, he scandalously fired Gifford Pinchot after Pinchot got into an arguement with Richard Ballinger, a friend of Taft's, over federal public domain lands. Overall, Taft lacked professionalism during his presidency.


  • Contributions: C
Taft made few notable contributions during his presidency. The main contribution was "trust busting". He also passed the Man-Elkins Act of 1910, which suspended high railroad rates. Taft made very few contributions that are still relevant today

William Howard Taft | 60-Second Presidents | PBS

Woodrow Wilson

Woodrow Wilson was born on December 28, 1856, in Staunton, Virginia to Joseph Ruggles Wilson and Janet Woodrow Wilson. Before becoming president, Wilson attended Princeton University and law school at University of Virginia. In 1886, Wilson earned his Ph.D in political sciences at Johns Hopkins University. To this day, Wilson is the only president to have a doctorate degree. Wilson served as president from 1913 to 1921. During his presidency, Wilson managed to keep the U.S. out of World War I until 1917. WIlson died on February 3, 1924 at the age of 67

Report Card

  • Leadership: A
Wilson was an excellent leader. He was the leader of the Democratic party and led his party to victory in the White House and Congress in 1912. He managed to keep the United States out of WWI until 1917. Additionally, he sponsored the League of Nations.


  • Organization: A
After winning a Democratic controlled Congress, Wilson was able to pass a progressive legislature agenda that included many measures aimed to attack the "triple wall of privilege", which was trusts, tariffs, and high finances.


  • Professionalism: B
Wilson claimed progressive ideals, and carried them out in office. Taft tried to keep America out of WWI and was successful for 3 years, but the U.S. got involved in 1917. Wilson also achieved women's suffrage with the passage of the 19th amendment.


  • Contributions: A
Wilson made many important contributions during his presidency. Passed a progressive legislature agenda. This agenda included the Federal Reserve Act, the Clayton Antitrust Act, and the Federal Income Tax, among others. Wilson also fought for Women's suffrage and got the 19th amendment passed.

Woodrow Wilson | 60-Second Presidents | PBS