The Progressive Presidents
William Howard Taft
Taft's intent to provide more efficient administration for existing reform policies was perfectly suited for the prosecution of antitrust violations. More trust prosecutions occurred under Taft than under Roosevelt. There were 99 trusts in all under his name. Taft became known as the "Great Trust Buster." The two most famous cases under the Taft Administration were the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey and the American Tobacco Company. These were actually started during Roosevelt's presidency. He also won a lawsuit against the American Sugar Refining Company to break up the "sugar trust" that rigged prices. However, when Taft moved to break up the U.S Steel, Roosevelt accused him of a lack of insight. That he was unable to distinguish between the good and bad trusts. By 1911, however, Taft began to back away from his antitrust efforts, stung by the criticism of his conservative business supporters and unsure about the long-range effect of trust-busting on the national economy.