The Era of Progressive Presidents


Theodore Roosevelt - Biography

Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt was a New York governor who later became the 26th president of the U.S. He was well known for his economical preservation and corporate reforms. On October 27, 1858, Teddy was born in New York. Because of the death of president McKinley, Teddy became the youngest president at the age of 42. He played a small part in ending the Russo-Japan war, and earned a Nobel peace prize because of this. He was born to a southern belle and a man of Dutch heritage. Because of is asthma and illnesses he was home schooled and able to nurse his love for nature. By his teens his father had egged him on to try things such as boxing and weight lifting. His father passed away during his second year in Harvard and he turned his grief into determination. He soon married Alice Hathaway Lee.



The Square Deal: After President McKinley's assassination in 1901, Roosevelt became president. Unlike McKinley, Roosevelt was not for pro- business policies. Roosevelt advanced political reforms and heavy regulation of business. he became known as the trust-buster. He was also the first president to successfully invoke the Sherman Anti-trust Act against monopolies. Roosevelt continued to restrict business throughout his presidency. The Square Deal promised to be fair to all Americans, preserve the environment, protect workers, and control big business.

Business Regulations: Theodore Roosevelt was presiding over a mourning country. The increase in population cause overcrowding, poverty, and economic disparity. The country also continued to become more urban and industrial which attracted big business. Roosevelt felt empowered by the people to ensure social justice and economic opportunity through business regulation. He believed the government had the right to regulate business for the well-being of the people. The Department of Justice filed suit against the Northern Securities Company. This sent shock waves through the business community. Many hoped that Roosevelt would keep to the hands-off strategy on the market. The issue claimed the Northern Securities Company(giant railroad combination led by J.P Morgan financiers and industrialists.) was a monopoly, so it broke the Sherman Antitrust Act. In 1904, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the government and ordered the company dismantled. Businesses realized they didn't have full reign to do anything they wanted anymore.

Environmental Concerns: Anywhere Roosevelt went he preached the need to conserve mountain ranges and woodlands. He believed the heritage of westerner and frontiers shaped American values, cultures, and behavior. To help conserve and maintain nature, Roosevelt signed the New-lands Reclamation Bill and which used money from federal land sales to build reservoirs and irrigation. After this he took many more steps to conserve part of America.

Foreign Policy: Roosevelt said "speak softly and carry a big stick." This was his approach to foreign policy. He knew the U.S. carried great power, but didn't brandish it.

Roosevelt Corollary:The Roosevelt Corollary was an addition to the Monroe Doctrine. It states that the U.S will intervene in conflicts in European countries and Latin American countries to enforce legitimate claims of the European powers.


Leadership- A- Roosevelt was given an A because he was a very will liked president among citizens, and just about everything he did affected everyone in a positive way, such as the Square Deal.

Organization-B- He was able to regulate big business and help protect workers. He successfully brought out the Sherman Anti-trust Act. He was a very organized president and dealt with everything in a professional manor

Professionalism-A- The people admired Theodore Roosevelt because he was a "for the people president". He was highly against big business. They believed he was there to help everyone.

Contributions-A- Roosevelt improved standard living, controlled big business, and helped to preserve the environment.

William Howard Taft- Biography

William Howard Taft was born September 15, 1857, in Cincinnati, Ohio. His father, Alphonso Taft was a republican and served as attorney general under Ulysses S. Grant control. He attended Yale University and then went to study law at the University of Cincinnati. In 1886, he married Helen "Nettie" Herron. They later on had three children. Taft was more conservative than Roosevelt and was a more successful administrator than politician. He also lacked the expansive view of presidential power. In 1912, Roosevelt wasn't satisfied with Taft's presidency. He formed his own progressive party and split republican voters and handing the white house over to Woodrow Wilson. Eventually, Taft achieved his goal of becoming chief justice of the U.S supreme Court.



Dollar Diplomacy:Taft was more supportive of he expansion of the U.S. foreign trade than Roosevelt. He began to follow the practice "dollar diplomacy". This was to encourage investments in South and Central America, the Caribbean, and Far East. He used government officials to promote things from America overseas, such like industrial goods and military hardware. In all, his effort for designing the U.S. foreign policy was unsuccessful.

"Trust Busting": Taft lacked Roosevelt's charisma and physical vigor. He was very active in trust busting; initiating over 80 antitrust suits against large industrial combinations. That's twice as many as Roosevelt. Soon after, he backed himself away from these efforts and joined the more conservative side of the Republicans.

Social and Government Reforms: When Taft entered the White House, he was determined to continue Roosevelt's reform programs. Taft emphasized and helped with trust busting, civil reform service, strengthening the Interstate Commerce Commission, and sought to further the economic development of nations in Latin America and Asia through dollar diplomacy.

Leadership: C: I believed the nation was iffy about his presidency. He did break lots of trusts and continued with the reforms. He lacked Roosevelt's view of presidential power, as well as charisma and his physical vigor.

Organization: B: He passed many bills that positively contributed to the country. He started a federal budget system, established a tariff board to make recommendations on tariff legislation, and sponsored a bill requiring political campaign expenses to be made public. He also lacked vigor and excitement that Roosevelt had.

Professionalism: B: Taft was commonly compared to Roosevelt, as he did not live up to his expectations as president. The public was iffy about him as a president. He was still very professional and helped he public as best he could.

Contributions: -A: He passed tons and reforms and busted twice as many trusts as Roosevelt.

President Woodrow Wilson


President Woodrow WIlson was the 28th U.S. president. He was in office for two terms and led the country through WW1. Before becoming president, Wilson was a college professer, university president and democratic governer of New Jersey before winning the White House in 1912. He was supportive of the reforms the Federal Reserves and the Federal Trade Commission. During WW1, Wilson tried to the U.S. neutral, but eventually called Congress to declare war on Germany. After the war, he helped create a treaty dealing with the League of Nations. Wilson was born December 28, 1856, in Staunton, Virginia. His father, Joseph Wilson, was a minister. His was Janet Wilson was a minister’s daughter. Wilson spent his teen years in Augusta, Georgia, and South Carolina. He graduated from Princeton in 1879 and then attented the University of Virginia to study law. He also earned a PHD in political science, taught Bryn Mawr College, and was hired by Princeton as professer of jurisprudence. In 1885, Wilson married Ellen Axson and had three daughters. He died Februrary 3, 1924.


Wilson's New Freedom: Wilson's 1912 platform for change was called the New Freedom. He was an admirer of Thomas Jefferson’s idea of an agrarian utopia of small, educated farmers. Of course, overtime, there came businesses and industries. The Freedom sought to achieve this goals by attacking what Wilson called, “the Triple Wall of Privilege”- the tariff, the banks, and the trusts. The tariffs protected the large industrialists at the expense of farmers. The banking system pinched small farmers and entrepreneurs. Finally, the Gold Standard made currency too tight and loans too expensive for the average citizen.

Suffrage: On September 30, 1918, Woodrow Wilson gives a speech to Congress guaranteeing women suffrage. The 19th amendment gave women the right to vote. After seeing women protest of suffrage ad getting arrested, Wilson was outraged at these acts against women and spoke out. He had always been somewhat supportive women's suffrage.

Foreign Policy/Mexico: Wilson and his secretary of state came into office determined to base foreign policy on morals, rather than selfish materialism. He helped the U.S. to cultivate a friendship with Latin America. Mexico was under the rule of General Victorian Huerta, and almost tyrannical leader. This country was not a democracy under his rule. In April, of 1914, Mexican authorities arrested a few American sailors for crossing the boarder. Pancho Villa crossed the boarder into New Mexico and killing several Americans. After much back and forth fighting between America and Mexico, it was decided that if America entered war with Germany, Mexico would form an alliance with Germany.

WW1: Wilson tried to keep America neutral during WW1, but eventually called on Congress to declare war on Germany in 1917. After the war, he helped negotiate a peace treaty that included a plan for the League of Nations.

Report Card

Report Card:

Leadership-A: Wilson was a good president that was supportive of suffrage, favored democracy, and continued with the reforms. He did what was best for the country at that time.

Organization-C: It seemed as though Wilson didn’t really accomplish anything; rather than he continued what Roosevelt and Taft started.

Professionalism-A: He was largely supported by by women because of his support of women’s suffrage. They believed he owed it to them in honor of their loved ones fighting overseas. Also, he was built upon morals and continued with the reforms.

Contributions-B: Wilson's New Freedom and his support to suffrage contributed to him being a well liked and nice president. His failure at the League of Nations and keeping America out of WW1 damaged image some.