Progressive Presidents Presentation

by: Claire Porterfield

Theodore Roosevelt

Biography

Theodore Roosevelt was born into a wealthy family living in New York City in October 27th, 1858. He was a smart student who went to Harvard and excelled in sports. He loved boxing and hunting during his free time. Relatively early in his life he became the governor of New York and continued his work in politics at a national level as the Vice President to William McKinley. After McKinley's assassination a few months into his first term, Roosevelt took over as President. Further he was elected once more in 1904. As President he implemented the "Big Stick" policy in foreign affairs, extended the Monroe Doctrine in what he called the Roosevelt Corollary which stated that America would interfere in Latin American and European conflicts to stand up for Latin nations, fought to protect the environment, and began regulating big businesses. Later, he won the Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating peace in the Russo-Japanese War.

Presidential Report Card

Leadership - A


When Roosevelt was running for President, his platform that he advocated for became known as the Square Deal. Once he was elected, he showed excellent leadership skills by sticking to his word and executing the majority, if not all of his points. He was able to push to get his way by stating an issue that needs reform, coming up with a plan for to properly reform it, make the country aware of his plans, and execute the reform. This open communication and effective problem-solving made him a great leader.


Organization - A

When there were issues with completing his reforms, Roosevelt always found another option and way to achieve it. When Colombia would not lease the land necessary to build the Panama Canal, Roosevelt insured that a revolution would occur near the isthmus, so that the new government that emerged there would be much more cooperative. Once getting the lease, Roosevelt was able to then build the Panama Canal. His ability to quickly alter his original plan to accomplish his end goal, especially in foreign affairs, shows that he had high levels of organization.


Professionalism - A

President Roosevelt can be considered professional because he tried to remain as fair as he could with businesses. He defended workers rights to strike and join together, as well as breaking up large monopolies. However, he never wanted to take away all the power from the companies and maintained an equal relationship between trusts and the workers, which shows he used professionalism to ensue his job was done smoothly.


Contributions - A

Along with the other successes previously discussed, Roosevelt succeeded in responding to scandals and muckraking exposes about the food industry by pushing the Pure Food and Drug Act and the Meat Inspection Act as well as the Meat Inspection Act. Roosevelt was also able to compromise with preservationists and big businesses by administering a conservation program that designated 200 million acres of land to national forests, mineral reserves, water-power sites, etc.

The History of Theodore [Teddy] Roosevelt - A Short Story

William Taft

Biography

William Howard Taft was born in 1857 in Cincinnati to a successful judge. He decided to follow his father's footsteps in the government/politics job pathway by going to Yale to study law. After graduating, he practiced law in Cincinnati and rose through the political levels through judiciary appointments. Taft was better at law than politics, but his wife encouraged him to pursue Presidency instead of a Supreme Court justice. His alliance with President Teddy Roosevelt allowed him to be elected as the 27th President of the United States. After completing his Presidency, Taft became the first person to be appointed as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and elected President.

Presidential Report Card

Leadership - B

Though Taft made great accomplishments as President, he was never comfortable in his role and wanted to be a judge instead. Taft even admitted running for President made him uncomfortable and feel awkward. He tried his best to follow Roosevelt, but his beliefs about how to be President were different than Roosevelt's. Taft thought that the President should not have as much power as Roosevelt gave himself.


Organization - A

William Taft can be considered an organized President because of his ability to pass vital amendments and keep foreign affairs at peace. By implementing Dollar Diplomacy and balancing the rights between trusts/big corporations and the working class, Taft was able to remain organized during his Presidency. Each task and challenge that Taft was presented with, he completed orderly and like a judge would due to his law and courtroom background.


Professionalism - A

There is no doubt that Taft was able to remain professional as President, considering he was appointed to the Supreme Court afterwards. His dealing with foreign affairs was one that was sympathetic towards their situations, which most likely stemmed from his time in the Philippines under President McKinley. Part of his foreign affairs was the dollar diplomacy which was a system of giving loans to countries in Latin America and East Asia in hopes to further economic ties.


Contributions - A

As discussed under professionalism, the peace with other countries was kept during Taft's presidency with the the use of dollar diplomacy. Domestically, Taft took business power into his own hands by breaking up trusts in order to try to keep big companies from overtaking all of the others and having no limits. This gave the working class slightly more rights than they previously held. Taft also reformed many laws and pieces of legislation while he was in office. For example, he reduced the tariff rates as one of his first orders of business. He also expanded the ICC's jurisdiction to cover telegraphs, telephones, and radios. Workers and postmasters were placed under civil service protection and the sixteenth and seventeenth amendments were passed under Taft.

William Howard Taft | 60-Second Presidents | PBS

Woodrow Wilson

Biography

Woodrow Wilson, the President that led America through World War I, was born in 1856 in Virginia. The time of his childhood in the south was in the middle of the aftermath of the Civil War, so many of his opinions came from what he saw during this time. Wilson had always been dedicated to his academics, so multiple degrees were earned during his years at multiple universities like Princeton and John Hopkins.

Presidential Report Card

Leadership - A

The United States joined WWI under President Wilson, so the leadership of him had to be exceptional in order to not fail. Since America did not do poorly in WWI, the leadership must have been good. Based on the way he avoided conflict with Latin countries and Mexico, shows that he can control and stuck to his decisions. Reducing tariffs and passing anti-trust laws depicts that he was convincing in Congress and was able to push his ideas to the nation.


Organization - A

While having to juggle issues in the banking/economic world along with the trusts, women's rights, and world war conflicts, Wilson managed to make advancements in all. Banks were reformed, tariffs reduced, suffrage to women granted, and the war was avoided as long as possible. Though his presidency wasn't perfect, the way he was able to make major advancements in multiple departments shows that his level of organization was high.


Professionalism - A

He was able to remain unbiased when addressing issues such as workers rights, trust power, and women's rights. He was able to see these tough topics from a fair perspective and made sure that personal opinions were not in the way of doing what was right for the country. He was able to progress the nation socially and in economic means while staying professional. He also sought after peace with Latin countries, including Mexico who recently had a revolution. He withdrew all troops from there in order to stay out of the World War for as long as possible and keep peace.


Contributions - A

It would be difficult to not give Wilson an A on contributions considering women were granted suffrage during his Presidency. This was a major step in America towards gender equality and one of the most vital parts to democracy in the United States today. Though this was extremely important part of his years, he also managed to reduce tariffs with the Revenue Act of 1913 and Underwood Tariff Act. Wilson also accomplished passing antitrust acts through Clayton Anti-Trust Act which promoted the working classes rights and reformed banks by the Federal Reserve System.

Woodrow Wilson | 60-Second Presidents | PBS