The Progressive Presidents

A Comparison

▎▌President Theodore Roosevelt ▌ ▎[ I ]

A Short Biography .........................................[ A ]

On October 27, 1858, Theodore Roosevelt was born with serious asthma. He grew up home-schooled while choosing to have an active lifestyle past what his condition would allow. After attending Harvard, he joined politics, reforming the legislature in the state of New York. Then moving to serve under William McKinley as Assistant Secretary of the Navy, but later resign and join the "Rough Riders". After gaining fame as a hero in the Spanish-American war, he was chosen as vice president to the 25th President, William McKinley.


In early September, 1901, President McKinley was Assassinated during the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York. Following this Event, Roosevelt stepped up to take the place as the 26th President of the United States. During his first term in office, he created the "Square Deal", which broke up trusts, regulated railroads, and created the Pure Food and Drug Act. He pushed hard for conservation, and established many National Parks. In his first term he became famous for creating the Panama Canal and helping end the Russo-Japanese War. After being elected for a second term, he tried to expand his Square Deal, but most of his concepts then and afterwards were stopped by congress. He died on January 6, 1919.

Presidential REPORT CARD Overview .....[ B ]


  • LEADERSHIP ( A )


  • ORGANIZATION ( B )


  • PROFESSIONALISM ( C )


  • CONTRIBUTIONS ( A )

LEADERSHIP .........................................................[ 1 ]

Grade: A


Theodore Roosevelt was a fantastic leader. He had many qualities that made him great for a leadership role. He was outgoing, and was a role model to most people. Roosevelt did not hide how he felt about subjects. Roosevelt was described by others as having a "picturesque personality".


Many looked up to Roosevelt because of his ability to lead. The nation did not always support his ideas, but he was able to accomplish them in a way where everyone could benefit from it. Roosevelt also won awards and recognition for his ability to lead. Including a Nobel Peace Prize for ending the Russo-Japanese war. He also was one of the four presidents to be carved into Mount Rushmore.

Organization ....................................................[ 2 ]

Grade: B



President Roosevelt was very organized in knowing what he wanted to accomplish. He had created a “Square Deal” policy that he enacted after becoming President. He believed strongly in the preservation of natural resources. He also planned to break up large corporations called “Trusts”. He also set federal regulations on the shipping rates of railroad companies.


One of his pet projects was the creation of a canal through the isthmus between North and South America. He had multiple ideas on how to make the agreements necessary to build a canal. He was organized in his methods of resolving disputes, and always remained neutral. He was able to create and pass new bills without causing dispute. Roosevelt had a plan for what he wanted to accomplish, and enacted it to the best of his ability.

PrOfEsSiOnAlIsM .............................................[ 3 ]

Grade: C


He was often called things like "a cowboy" for his relaxed, less stressful, outdoorsy attitude. He was said to never be too serious about things of importance. He enjoyed sports and games, and played many different ones competitively. He was often telling others to stop working and get outside more. Theodore Roosevelt was also pictured as a cowboy in many political cartoons.


Overall, he was able to get jobs done, but seemed very interested in doing other things. Unlike Taft, Roosevelt was happy while in office, possibly too happy, like being President was just another thing to do. Overall, he was always happy and active, but was able to get things done when it was needed.

CONTRIBUTIONS .................................................[ 4 ]

Grade: A


President Roosevelt made many contributions on a National and Global scale. His “Square Deal” domestic policy focused on the conservation of resources, regulation of business, and improving the well-being of the American people. The impact of some of his contributions can still be felt today. Some of his more famous national contributions include the passing of the Pure Food and Drug Act, and the formation of National Parks. He also broke up corrupt trusts or ones with too much power, earning him the title of “Trust-Buster”.


His contributions to foreign affairs also had great impact. First was the resolvement of the Venezuela Crisis by adding the “Roosevelt Corollary” to the Monroe Doctrine. This addition stated that the United states would act as a mediator to affairs between Europe and Latin America. Next was his involvement in ending the Russo-Japanese War by offering to mediate a treaty. Later he provided support to a rebellious party in Cuba, who succeeded in overthrowing the government. This was done to make a canal through Panama. The Panama Canal cut the time it takes to move by boat to each coast of the United States by days and weeks.

Theodore Roosevelt | 60-Second Presidents | PBS

▎▌President William Howard Taft ▌ ▎[ II ]

A Short Biography .........................................[ A ]

William Howard Taft was born on September 15, 1857, in Cincinnati, Ohio. He grew up with a great education, attending Yale College and Cincinnati Law School; graduating second in his class in the former. After Law School, he held many various jobs in law and politics, before eventually becoming a Supreme Court Justice. He gained fame after becoming the first Governor-General of Cuba.


In 1908, Taft was elected after Theodore Roosevelt promised not to run another term. Taft became our twenty-seventh president. Taft was a poor leader and role model. He became very depressed and was always under stress. He gained weight and was not very productive. While in office, he broke up many more trusts, and increased the tariff. Once his term ended in 1913, he became happy again. Later In 1921 he became the Chief Justice of the United States, a job he always wanted. He died on March 8th, 1930.

Presidential REPORT CARD Overview .....[ B ]


  • LEADERSHIP ( D )


  • ORGANIZATION ( C )


  • PROFESSIONALISM ( B )


  • CONTRIBUTIONS ( C )

LEADERSHIP .........................................................[ 1 ]

Grade: D


Taft was a poor leader. He was unable to match how much Roosevelt was able to appeal to the people. He did not have a strong foundations for his ideas and plans. He was unable to handle the stress of being in office, and fell into a depression. This created a never ending chain of stress and poor decisions. He had an overall poor image to the public.


He was overweight, and was ridiculed by the press and critics. He was not an active person like Roosevelt was. He was not outgoing about his opinions, and people cannot relate to a person they rarely see. He was raised to be Roosevelt's successor, but failed in completing what was expected of him. Only after leaving office did he seem happy and capable again.

Organization ....................................................[ 2 ]

Grade: C


Taft was not organized during his time as president. He did not have many major plans of what he wanted to accomplish. He did not have a strong belief in conservation. He also had a law over politics mindset, unlike Roosevelt. Taft did not have a domestic policy he wanted to enact, again unlike Roosevelt and eventually President Woodrow Wilson. He was not prepared for new issues when they appeared.

PROFESSIONALISM .............................................[ 3 ]

Grade: B


Taft overall had a very professional image. He was raised with the best expected of him, and met that goal. He attended Harvard, and Law School. He was able to climb the political ladder by moving from one remarkable job to the next. Adding to his overall image was the contrast between him and Roosevelt.


Once his failures to meet what was demanded of him started to arise, the media took a more critical view. The created the image of a fat and lazy man. He then responded by closing himself of more to the public. He was very stressed but was able to deal with it in order to retain his image. His downfall happened when Roosevelt turned against him, and he was never elected for a second term. He then moved on to become Chief Supreme Justice, and he was once again seen in a more positive light.

CONTRIBUTIONS .................................................[ 4 ]

Grade: C


President Taft was set to be the successor to Roosevelt. He was to enforce the same policies and keep the same mindset. He fell short in almost every instance. He was responsible for breaking up many additional trusts after Roosevelt, and also became known as a "Trust-Buster". He also raised the tariff, and eventually lost support of both major political parties.


His foreign policies often fell back on his concept of "Dollar Diplomacy". The concept was to use money to strengthen trade and lower European Influence. He tried to avoid conflict and stay out of foreign affairs. His over all international contributions were as underwhelming as his domestic ones.

William Howard Taft | 60-Second Presidents | PBS

▎▌President Woodrow Wilson ▌ ▎[ III ]

A Short Biography .........................................[ A ]

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Presidential REPORT CARD Overview .....[ B ]


  • LEADERSHIP ( B )


  • ORGANIZATION ( A )


  • PROFESSIONALISM ( A )


  • CONTRIBUTIONS ( B )

LEADERSHIP .........................................................[ 1 ]

Grade: B


President Woodrow Wilson was a fantastic leader. His only downside was his cold personality. While he could be somewhat standoffish personally, he was able to pull the nation through tough times when the need arose. He was able to keep the United States out of WWI when the people requested it, and join it at the most opportune time. His domestic policies were well thought-out, and his foreign policies were also very grand. He was an impressive leader, but after his stroke, his influence weakened.

Organization ....................................................[ 2 ]

Grade: A


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ilson had very good organization while in office. He enforced Roosevelt's ideals better than Taft before him. He passed acts that undid the mistakes made by Taft, most notably by reducing tariffs. Wilson was effective in busting trusts and other progressive movements. He also had to pull the United States through WWI. He had to choose to stay neutral, then join the fight to have as little repercussions as possible. While President, he created two powerful policies, The Fourteen Points, and "New Freedom" programs.

PrOfEsSiOnAlIsM .............................................[ 3 ]

Grade: A


Woodrow Wilson was a very professional figure. He was calculating and careful. He was a superb leader on an international scale. Wilson kept the Nation calm and ready during WWI. He maintained a very professional image throughout his whole career.

CONTRIBUTIONS .................................................[ 4 ]

Grade: B


Wilson made many great contributions. His "New Freedom Policy" had many progressive reforms to help regulate business, improve life for farmers, and reform labor laws. He was a major figure in changing the course of WWI. After the war he created the Fourteen Points plan. His Fourteen Points plan was designed to put his domestic policies into effect on a global scale. He also proposed a League of Nations, the basis for what the United Nations is today. His only negative points are that he did not succeed in creating the League. He also gained women the right to vote. In his foreign involvement, both by enforcing the Mexican Government during an uprising, and his choice to include the west in WWI.

Woodrow Wilson | 60-Second Presidents | PBS