Progressive Era Presidents
By Ali Martin
Watch this short video to see a sneak peak of what President Roosevelt did during office.
President Theodore Roosevelt deserves an A for leadership because he was definitely a man of the people. Every day he held at least 2 press conferences to hear what the people were thinking. He made sure the people knew that had a voice when deciding on their community. Roosevelt was also able to get other on board of what he thought because he was so loved by people. While president, Roosevelt passed the Pure Food and Drug Act as well as the Meat Inspection Act. These two acts opened the eyes of the people to look and see if their food was actually healthy or if it had anything added to it. Also the meat inspection act enabled to check for any chemical changes in the food and to check all foreign imported food.
Teddy Roosevelt was good at keeping organized as well. He kept tract of all the things the people wanted and what he wanted for us as well. He made sure to start a bunch of national parks and bird reserves for the people of our country to enjoy. He wanted to keep these parks nice for visitors and to have something outside that we as a country could appreciate. Also Roosevelt basically voted Taft into office because Taft was his apprentice. He gave the people what they needed to have as the next president and of course they listened to him. It was a sad loss once Roosevelt was gone but was very nice to have him for his two terms.
Although Roosevelt was loved by many his professionalism as President was not as good as it should have been. Roosevelt grew up on a farm and was considered a cowboy of this time. He even had a boxing ring made in the white house were he would invite people to come and box them. Besides this, Roosevelt was professional. He was able to commit to the United States foreign affairs by creating the Roosevelt Corollary which gave the US the chance to keep an eye on their allies and barge in if they were doing something to hurt their investors. Roosevelt also knew how to talk well in front of large crowds and not sounding to harsh or confusing to understand.
Roosevelt deserves an A in his contributions because there were so many and the people enjoyed them. When Roosevelt first became president, he was interested in "trust-busting" large corporations so that they did not gain to much power. He stopped the huge standard Oil Company and the largest railroad company as well as bringing 40 antitrust suits. Roosevelt also contributed the Square Deal. During a coal strike in 1902, miners threatened a national shortage of coal. To stop this Roosevelt made a square deal with them to lose the recognition of the union and get paid more with fewer hours. Roosevelt said, "My action on labor should always be considered in connection with my actions as regards capital, and both are reducible to my favorite formula—a square deal for every man." One more contribution that Roosevelt gave the United States was the Panama Canal and his ability to handle foreign policy nicely. After France went bankrupt from trying to build this Canal, Roosevelt stepped in. Since Panama was not on board with the United States trying to take a chuck of their land for trade, they opposed forcing the US to hold a rebellion and maybe fight a war. Panama agreed to give them the rights and stop an upcoming war before hand. Roosevelt even helped with the building of the canal as shown in this picture to the left.
William Howard Taft
William Taft was not as great as a leader that Theodore Roosevelt was. Even though Roosevelt gave the people his word that Taft would do great things, Taft could not follow through. Instead of holding press conferences as Roosevelt did, Taft liked to stay in the shadows therefore the people did not appreciate him hiding all the time. Taft also liked to stick to the law. He did all that was necessary but did not go out of his way to get the people everything they wanted and more. Taft had a hard time following after Roosevelt because they people didn't like him as much as did Roosevelt.
Taft had pretty good organizational skills. He was able to strengthen the Interstate Commerce Commission which fixed railroad rates and extended their control to radio, telegrams and telephone companies. Taft also implemented the Income tax amendment (16) which brought in a lot more federal revenue for our government and the amendment to directly elect the senators (17). The 17th Amendment was very beneficial to this time period because a main goal of a progressive was to directly elect their senators instead of having the house do it. This gave the people a little more control over who rules them and makes them feel better because they know their say is being heard.
William Taft was not very professional at all. Taft was not able to see what the people wanted and ended up passing certain acts that would change the government completely. The Pane-Aldrich Act which was supposed to lower tariff rates but actually did not was passed by Taft. Everyone thought that he would veto it because it did not do anything to help but he did the opposite. Taft was better behind the scenes. When working with Roosevelt he did better things because he wasn't recognized but when out in the open Taft tended to try and help the people without actually listening to them.
Although Taft's contribution was not as great as Roosevelt's, they were not terrible. Taft was able to continue "trust-busting" as Roosevelt had started and ended up with 99 trust prosecutions. Two main ones he was involved with were the Standard Oil Company and the American Tobacco Company. Taft's biggest accomplishment with trust-busting was the lawsuit against the American Sugar trust. He was able to break up the company and stop the rigging of prices. Taft also implemented dollar diplomacy which basically got America out of debt with foreign countries. Taft's phrase, "substituting dollars for bullets" carried on through the people describing how Taft solved our foreign policy. Taft aided Caribbean countries to overthrow their leaders and appoint a new one if they had trouble. He helped them to strengthen their governments without forcing them to live under US control.
Woodrow Wilson deserves an A+ for leadership because he influenced a lot of America. While he was being elected, war was going on in Europe. Wilson made a promise to the people to keep us out of war for as long as he could. He is the reason that the US did not join WWI until the very end of it when we absolutely had to. Wilson was also on the side of the Women and actively tried to give them more power than they were used to for most of the US's time. Wilson gave the people hope after Taft because he would go out and give conferences. He was not afraid to show his face and was glad to be President.
Wilson deserves an A for organization because he got things done. When first elected he wanted to give the people a new freedom and make the government a little less involved. He wanted the people to get the chance to have their say on anything they wanted. Wilson still made the government have the opportunity to the Federal Reserve System which was like a big bank for the federal government and people. He also created the Federal Farm Loan Act that increased the credit of farmers causing them to need loans from the federal government. Wilson was also able to establish child labor laws and help organize the factories to be against working children for too long and if they were too young.
Woodrow Wilson, like Taft, had terrible ideas of professionalism. Wilson did not care how the public saw him and didn't even try to fix his teeth to make his look sharper since he was being watched by the people at all times. Instead he chose to take pictures with him mouth closed and sometimes put a fake set in but not often. Also, instead of giving Congress the right to declare war on another country, Wilson did it himself. At the end of World War I Wilson finally decided it was time to declare war and help aid their allies. He was unprofessional by not giving his people enough time to say they wanted war either. During his election he said he would avoid the war for the people's sake but went against his words.
Wilson contributed a lot for the United States starting with women's suffrage. After listening to women picket in front of the White House, Wilson became on board of giving women the right to vote. He was eventually able to pass the nineteenth amendment giving women their right to vote after all these years. Wilson also passed acts to reduce tariffs and reformed the banks. Finally, Wilson tried to take over Mexico and make them apart of the US. Mexico did not like this because they liked their own freedom and not being controlled by a big government. They went to war but ended it with the Zimmerman Telegram from Germany. Germany wanted Mexico to join them in attacking the US because Germany wanted us to stop trading with Britain. Wilson was able to clear everything up with Mexico making them not want to go against the United States.