The Progressive Presidents

A comparison

Theo Roosevelt

He was born in New York City in 1858 into a wealthy family, but he too struggled--against ill health.In 1884 his first wife, Alice Lee Roosevelt, and his mother died on the same day. Roosevelt spent much of the next two years on his ranch in the Dakota territory.During the Spanish-American War, Roosevelt was lieutenant colonel of the Rough Rider Regiment, which he led on a charge at the battle of San Juan. He was one of the most conspicuous heroes of the war.He was know for is anti monopoly and anti trust views. He died in New York on January 6,1919.

Grade A

Leadership-He was a man of the people and so the people loved him he favored the laborers over management.He took the view that the President as a "steward of the people" should take whatever action necessary for the public good unless expressly forbidden by law or the Constitution.

Organization- He Forced the dissolution of a great railroad combination in the Northwest and became known as a trust buster. He ensured the construction of the panama canal. He passed the Monroe doctrine.Some of Theodore Roosevelt's most effective achievements were in conservation. He added enormously to the national forests in the West, reserved lands for public use, and fostered great irrigation projects.

Professionalism

As President, Roosevelt held the ideal that the Government should be the great arbiter of the conflicting economic forces in the Nation, especially between capital and labor, guaranteeing justice to each and dispensing favors to none.

Contributions

As President TR made thousands of new national park's and began the construction of the panama canal which greatly reduced sailing time form east coast to west coast.

William Howard Taft

Born in 1857, the son of a distinguished judge, he graduated from Yale, and returned to Cincinnati to study and practice law. He rose in politics through Republican judiciary appointments.His route to the White House was via administrative posts. President McKinley sent him to the Philippines in 1900 as chief civil administrator. Sympathetic toward the Filipinos, he improved the economy, built roads and schools, and gave the people at least some participation in government.

Grade B

Leadership -Taft recognized that his techniques would differ from those of his predecessor. Unlike Roosevelt, Taft did not believe in the stretching of Presidential powers. He once commented that Roosevelt "ought more often to have admitted the legal way of reaching the same ends.

organization-In the angry Progressive onslaught against him, little attention was paid to the fact that his administration initiated 80 antitrust suits and that Congress submitted to the states amendments for a Federal income tax and the direct election of Senators. A postal savings system was established, and the Interstate Commerce Commission was directed to set railroad rates.

Professionalism-

Taft, free of the Presidency, served as Professor of Law at Yale until President Harding made him Chief Justice of the United States, a position he held until just before his death in 1930. To Taft, the appointment was his greatest honor; he wrote: "I don't remember that I ever was President."

Contributions-

Taft’s sympathetic administration in the Philippines marked a dramatic departure from the brutal tactics used there by the U.S. military government since 1898.Taft improved the island economy and infrastructure and allowed the people at least some voice in government.

Woodrow Wilson

He was born in Virginia in 1856, the son of a Presbyterian minister who during the Civil War was a pastor in Augusta, Georgia, and during Reconstruction a professor in the charred city of Columbia, South Carolina.After graduation from Princeton (then the College of New Jersey) and the University of Virginia Law School, Wilson earned his doctorate at Johns Hopkins University and entered upon an academic career. In 1885 he married Ellen Louise Axson.

Grade A

Leadership-Like Roosevelt before him, Woodrow Wilson regarded himself as the personal representative of the people. "No one but the President," he said, "seems to be expected ... to look out for the general interests of the country." He developed a program of progressive reform and asserted international leadership in building a new world order.

Organization- Wilson maneuvered through Congress three major pieces of legislation. The first was a lower tariff, the Underwood Act; attached to the measure was a graduated Federal income tax. The passage of the Federal Reserve Act provided the Nation with the more elastic money supply it badly needed. In 1914 antitrust legislation established a Federal Trade Commission to prohibit unfair business practices.

Professionalism-After the Germans signed the Armistice in November 1918, Wilson went to Paris to try to build an enduring peace. He later presented to the Senate the Versailles Treaty, containing the Covenant of the League of Nations, and asked, "Dare we reject it and break the heart of the world?"

Contributions-Another burst of legislation followed in 1916. One new law prohibited child labor; another limited railroad workers to an eight-hour day. By virtue of this legislation and the slogan "he kept us out of war," Wilson narrowly won re-election.