Progressive Presidents

Constituted By: Sohrab Azad

Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt was born in New York City on October 27, 1858. He was an eccentric Harvard man who gained his popularity through his wise, fundamental beliefs after the Spanish-American war and became the 26th President of the United States of America after President McKinley was assassinated in 1901.

Presidential Report Card

Leadership: A

Theodore Roosevelt's leadership sparked in the hearts of Americans. He was most compared to Andrew Jackson as both were the people's President. When he developed the Square Deal, he had the support of nearly the entire nation. It stated that he would never favor any group of Americans over the other and that everyone will be treated the same. The deal even protected the rights of both the consumer and worker which gained popularity sporadically. Although his administration filed forty-three trust-busting suits and dissolved the Northern Securities Company for violating the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, he was still on the side of businesses. He favored them as long as they operated for the good of the nation. Teddy Roosevelt will always be remembered as having his leadership prowess and never backing down.

Organization: A

Roosevelt's ambitious leadership came along with the organization of a predator. Most of his reform policies created a better America environmentally and internationally. Roosevelt was at heart a preservationist, but understood the need for compromise. He achieved this compromise through his conservation program, which provided for the regulated use of the nation’s wilderness. Roosevelt designated 200 million acres as national forests, mineral reserves, and potential waterpower sites, and added five national parks and eighteen national monuments to the list of protected lands. In 1908 Roosevelt created the National Conservation Commission to inventory the nation’s resources and manage their use more efficiently. He tried to attack the food industry as well as he endorsed the Pure Food and Drug Act and the Meat Inspection Act, both passed in 1906. The first act prohibited the sale of adulterated or inaccurately labeled foods and medicines, and the second established federal regulations for meatpackers and a system of inspection. He also tried to make America an international powerhouse as The Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine asserted the right of the U.S. government to intervene in the affairs of Latin American countries while maintaining that European powers should stay out of Latin America. His organization was supreme compared to most presidents as he built America another story domestically and internationally.

Professionalism: C

Roosevelt was filled with an exuberant amount of energy which would only turn into negative responses from his fellow representatives. He was appointed Vice President under McKinley for the primary reason that it was a dead job and that he could not cause trouble in congress. He was addicted to coffee and loved his sports as he even had a boxing ring built in the White House. The people still admired him because of his accomplishments and saw him worthy of being the people's President. He was a very sick child with asthma, but turned into a bronco in his later years. He was a great organized President, but he lacked professionalism which may be a good trade off.

Contributions: A

The contributions of Roosevelt will ring in the ears of Americans for decades to come. He was known as a trust buster since he filed more than forty law suits against corporations like the Northern Securities Company. The supreme court ruled for his administration as well which promoted his anti-monopoly status. He also compromised with many industries as he kept nearly 200 million acres of forest. He also greatly contributed to international affairs with the Panama Canal to increase trade and his Big Stick Diplomacy showed great prowess from the American military. He set a high precedent for many presidents to come and will forever be remembered as one of the best.
Theodore Roosevelt - Mini Biography

William Taft

William Howard Taft was born on September 15, 1857, in Cincinnati, Ohio. He should be remembered as the triple threat as he was a judge, ambassador, and the 27th President of the United States after Theodore Roosevelt. A Yale man who was seen as a traitor towards Roosevelt as he went against his ideals. His reign was seen as below average during the Progressive Era by most Americans.

Leadership: D

William is the judge rather than the lawyer. He was Roosevelt's closest ally so he was pressured into becoming President although he never had such wants. The public degraded him for his misuse of failed reforms and his physical attributes as he weighed close to 400 pounds. He was not as energetic as Roosevelt and did not welcome the spotlight. He was also criticized for not doing a lot, and letting his cabinet take charge. He was not the people's president as he had many more failures than successful programs during his presidency.

Organization: B

Although he was not seen as the people's president, Taft did his utmost best to get the job done although his successful reforms did not outweigh his failed ones. Taft expanded worker protection as under his orders, the Department of Labor established the Children's Bureau to investigate and regulate all matters pertaining to the well being of a child. He also supported an eight- hour workday, which became the rule for government employees under Taft. Even though Roosevelt had over 40 law suits against corporations, Taft doubled that in one term. Taft famously filed a lawsuit against J.P. Morgan’s U.S. Steel Corporation. The lawsuit infuriated Taft’s predecessor and political ally Theodore Roosevelt, who had helped form the company back in 1901. He had failed programs like the Dollar Diplomacy and the selling of Alaska to private companies. Taft believed that he could convince smaller, developing nations to support the United States by investing American dollars in their economies. “Dollar Diplomacy,” as pundits dubbed it, not only made allies but also made money for American investors. He also tried to fix the banks, but a compromise was never met. Other compromises like the Payne Aldrich Tariff Act angered the citizens as the tariffs were raised. Taft had some good and bad programs, but his succession under Roosevelt was still seen as below par.

Professionalism: C

Taft was not a bad president, but was seen as one as his predecessor set an outrageously high bar. His main goal was to be a Supreme Court Justice, but once McKinley offered him a job in the national government, he could not refuse. He did his best to help out the public and the party, but he had no passion for it after a while. He split the Republican Party after firing Pinchot and the tariff rise. His carelessness set the people off near the end as he did not live up to the expectations of Roosevelt and basically forced him to come back. The people saw that he was trying to do good, but his passion was dissolved after his reforms kept failing.

Contributions: B

Through his robust fighting with the Republican Party and the people, he accomplished most of what he set out to accomplish. He enacted the Dollar Diplomacy method in Latin America which failed due to it being unpopular and illogical at times. He did however become to be known as the real, "trust buster", as he went after twice as many corporations as Roosevelt did and was more conservative with the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. He helped establish the Children's Bureau and enacted the Payne-Aldrich Act which raised tariffs. His dream was to be a Supreme Court Justice, which was fulfilled, but he was president first. Even though he was not popular amongst his party or people, he made significant contributions for this country which would last till today.
#27 William Howard Taft

Woodrow Wilson

Thomas Woodrow Wilson was born on December 28, 1856, in Staunton, Virginia. A Johns Hopkins and Princeton graduate who transferred his advanced intellects to politics in 1911 as he become New Jersey's 34th Governor. He was diagnosed with dyslexia but overcame it early and become Princeton's President while also excelling and getting his Phd. He then became America's 28th president after Roosevelt and Taft dismantled the Republican Party's vote.

Leadership: A

Woodrow Wilson was arguably the smartest President the United States has yet to encounter. His progressive reforms benefitted the entire nation and the economy as it was able to flourish world wide. He tried his best to keep the country out of an inevitable war and talked about keeping democracy instead of spreading it. His most famous program, The New Freedom, included reduction of the tariff on imported goods, reform of the inept national banking system, and strengthening of the Sherman Act to combat trusts. Wilson's election to the Presidency also allowed him to reconstruct the floundering Democratic Party, which had arguably been more or less without strong leadership since the antebellum days. He was a close representation of Roosevelt and gave American's more a voice in his two terms. He had his many critics as people thought they rubbed him the wrong way, but he still attributed everything towards them.

Organization: A

Like the other progressive presidents, Wilson went after the big guys and tried to make an equal playing field. He began progressing his reforms early in his presidency and he had the utmost respect from the Democratic Party as he was the first democratic president in the 20th century. The Underwood-Simmons Tariff Act enacted an across-the-board reduction in tariffs, making manufacturers more efficient and providing consumers with competitive pricing. To compensate for lost revenue, a rider to the act created a small, graduated income tax. He then went after the banks and made sure they did not expand moreover than their expected legal progressions. Banking Reform were most notably accomplished by the 1913 creation of the Federal Reserve System. It was also aided through the passage of the Federal Farm Loan Act, which set up Farm Loan Banks to support farmers. The Federal Trade Act created the Federal Trade Commission to investigate and halt unfair and illegal business practices by issuing "cease and desist" orders, and the Clayton Anti-Trust Act specified these "unfair and illegal" business practices in legislation. The trusts were attacked and labor unions were protected under this act. With that, the Clayton Anti-Trust Act expanded on the Sherman Anti-Trust act and prohibited interlocking directorates and clearly defined unfair business practices. Labor unions were exempted from antitrust considerations. Benefiting labor further was the legalization of peaceful strikes, picketing and boycotts. He is also responsible for advocating for three crucial amendments which were the 17th, 18th, and 19th which he voiced the most as he saw the significant role of women in society. Wilson ran his government with an iron fist and did not tolerate any devious acts which would put the people of America in harm.

Professionalism: B

The public absolutely adored Woodrow Wilson early on, especially after the New Freedom reform. Every single thing he did was for the good of the people domestically and internationally with helping the Mexican people overthrow their vicious dictator. He did make some poor decisions in his last term as he was sick for two years during the Great War and did not step down from office. If he were to die, then the country would have been in turmoil and if the enemies found out that he was sick, they would have sent an immediate attack. That was very dangerous of him and put lives at risk. The Executive Branch was also not functional during that time which spiraled some things out of control. He gained speed towards the end and went to France to negotiate the treaty. He stood high amongst the people and lead instead of ruled.

Contributions: A

Wilson will be hailed forever as one of the best President's of all time through his international involvement and diplomatic reforms. He did not believe that America should imperialize and spread democracy like Roosevelt's foreign policy suggested, but instead promote it and help it live throughout the world. After Mexico's bloody revolution, Wilson just supplied the people with weapons to take down the government and did not take immediate action. He sent the Marines after American soldiers were captured, but believed that he could only help the people take their government back. He also tried his best to keep America out of the Great War, but could not until 1917 after the submarine warfare. He made the best of it as he supplied soldiers with food and even negotiated the Treaty of Versailles. He also created many diplomatic reforms like the Farm-Loan Act and the Clayton Anti-Trust Act which expanded on the previous Sherman Anti-Trust Act. His Keating-Own Child Labor Act also helped children limit their harsh hours and labor. He decreased tariffs and fought for women's suffrage. Wilson can be seen as the most influential president of the Progressive Era as his ideals still live on today.
#28 Woodrow Wilson