Progressive Presidents

By Allison Lance

Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909)

Theodore Roosevelt was born in 1858 and grew up suffering asthma. Once he overcame it, he became a lifelong naturalist. He attended Harvard College. After serving during the Spanish-American War, he became known as a national war hero. After being elected governor of New York in 1898, he ran as McKinley's vice president. Following the assassination of President McKinley, he became President of the United States.

Leadership-- A+

The nation believed and followed Theodore Roosevelt's lead. During the Spanish-American War, Roosevelt was a Commander of the 1st US Volunteer Calvary. They were also known as the Rough Riders. He tried to increase American's well-being by creating the "Square Deal" vowing to be fair to all Americans. The Square Deal was based on 3 basic ideas: conservation of natural resources, control of corporations, and consumer protection. It was often referred to as the three C's. He built the Panama Canal which ended up increasing American Influence. The United States was able to oversee much of the Western Hemisphere after Roosevelt added the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine.

Organization-- A+

Roosevelt was able to accomplish a great deal while he was in office. He saw resources as something that he needed to protect giving him the name "conversationalist president." Out of the 230 million acres of public land, he set aside 150 million acres as national forests. In 1906, he signed the Act for the Preservation of American Antiquities. This Act gave the president the power to declare historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, etc. Roosevelt was also known as the "trust buster." Congress passed the Sherman Anti-trust Act in 1890 which prohibited certain business activities and required the federal government to investigate and pursue trusts. In 1906, he passed the Hepburn Act which allowed the Interstate Commerce Commission to set the rates on railroads. The American people were in favor of the new regulations that were set.

Professionalism-- A+

While Roosevelt was in office, people were in favor of and admired him by the way that he acted. Like Andrew Jackson, Theodore Roosevelt was seen as a war hero. His success leading the Rough Riders during the Spanish-American War swayed in his favor. In 1912, he was shot during a speech in Milwaukee and continued his hour and a half speech, then got help.

Contributions- A+

Theodore Roosevelt has a huge impact on American history. The Roosevelt Corollary was an addition to the Monroe Doctrine after the Venezuela Crisis of 1902-03. He was very involved with foreign affairs. The corollary called for the United States to intervene with conflicts between European countries and Latin American countries. This would eliminate European countries making claims of their own. His phrase, "speak softly,and carry a big stick" was Roosevelt's foreign policy.
Theodore Roosevelt - Mini Biography

William Howard Taft (1909-1913)

William Howard Taft was born in 1857. He was an American jurist, statesman, and also served as the 27th President of the United States. Roosevelt handpicked Taft to be the next president following him. Taft won an easy victory in his 1908 bid for presicdency

Leadership-- B-

Following President Theodore Roosevelt, the people were hesitant in following after William Howard Taft's lead which is reasonable. He was chosen by Roosevelt to continue his legacy, but Taft's leadership qualities were less presidential activism. Taft failed trying to get Congress to lower tariffs when high tariff interests dominated Congress at the time. He did succeed foreign policy called "Dollar Diplomacy". This foreign policy included Latin America and East Asia using economic power to guarantee loans made out to foreign countries.

Organization-- A+

Taft was able to accomplish much while he was in office. Although Roosevelt was known as the trust buster, Taft took a more aggressive approach aggressive. Taft also succeeded in social and government reforms. The Mann-Elkins Act of 1910 gave the International Commerce Commission regulation of the telephone, telegraph, and cable companies. He also limited the work days of federal employees to 8 hours. Workmen's compensation was considered which would give money to injured workers.

Professionalism-- D

Taft was definitely not admired while he was in office. His role in reform was insignificant compared to Theodore Roosevelt's. His lack of professionalism was shown through his long traveling trips which raised concerns if he was serving the country or seeking his own pleasures.

Contributions-- B

William Howard Taft had an impact on American history when it comes to trust busting and social and government reforms. Although he busted over 90 trusts, his lack of leadership and professionalism disguised his legacy.
#27 William Howard Taft

Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921)

Woodrow Wilson was born in 1856. Wilson earned a PhD in political science and became President of Princeton University. He then was elected governor of New Jersey in 1911. In 1912 he ran for President winning while there was a split in the Republican Party.

Leadership-- A-

The nation believed in Woodrow Wilson and followed his lead. Congress created banking reform under the Federal Reserve System, tariff reduction, federal regulation of business, support for labor, and collective bargaining. Wilson faced difficulties when dealing Latin American countries, especially Mexico. Mexico was a very poor country and revolted against investors in railroads, mines, and oil. Wilson tried to avoid war but had to take action after American sailors were arrested in Mexico. Argentina, Brazil, and Chile stepped in and war was avoided.

Organization-- A

Wilson was able to accomplish a great deal in office. He fought for the 19th amendment to be passed. The 19th amendment gave women the right to vote. The Underwood-Simmons Act enacted an across the board reduction of tariffs. The Federal Reserve Act of 1913 was considered Wilson's most significant accomplishment. This called for 12 regional reserve banks and the members were appointed by the president. The Clayton Antitrust Act helped labor forces and farmers by clearing defining unfair business practices. Labor unions were exempt from these antitrust considerations.

Professionalism-- B-

Wilson was somewhat admired during his time in office. He held regular press conferences with Washington press to keep the public up to date. Wilson was a strong speaker, but people considered him as a racist. During his time in office, he did little to stop race riots and anti-black violence.

Contributions-- A+

Woodrow Wilson had a large impact on the nation. During the beginning of WWI, he took a neutral stance to avoid war. So, his slogan was "he kept us out of war." After Germany's unrestricted submarine warfare, Wilson had to declare war on Germany. The Allies ended up winning the war with some help from America providing food and artillery. Wilson's Fourteen Points were not adopted in the peace treaty after the war. However, the Fourteen Points called for human rights.
Woodrow Wilson ***