Progressive Presidents

By: Logan Sullivan

Theodore Roosevelt Short Biography

Teddy Roosevelt was born on October 27th, 185. He grew up in New York City and eventually became Governor of New York. Roosevelt was inaugurated as the 26th President of the United States after the assassination of William McKinley. At age 42, Roosevelt became the youngest United States President. Roosevelt is known for his enthusiastic and rough around the edges personality. Roosevelt was also a big supporter of war and had great will to fight for his country. Theodore Roosevelt died of cardiovascular disease on January 6th, 1919.

Teddy's Report Card

  • LEADERSHIP:A+

Teddy Roosevelt was such a phenomenal leader while in office he is often viewed as the model president in terms of leadership and being able to get the nation to follow his lead. He was a great public speaker and was able to create a strong connection between him and the rest of the nation. Teddy also had great inspirational visions including his environmental protection policy. Inspirational visions, setting leadership precedents, and connecting with the nation easily earns Teddy an A.

  • ORGANIZATION:A+

Teddy Roosevelt, being the progressive president he is, was able to accomplish many goals while in office. Roosevelt was able to layout his domestic policy known as The Square Deal. The Square Deal consisted of conservation of resources, control of corporations, and consumer protection. Roosevelt and his colleagues were able to initiate and pass many bills that would align with his Square Deal Policy. Roosevelt used his power to protect wildlife by creating the United States Forest Service. This organization made 150 national forests, 51 federal reserves, and 5 national parks. Teddy was able to regulate corporations and monopolies through Sherman Anti-Trust act which broke up the Northern Securities Railroad Company in 1902. In 1906 Roosevelt passed The Pure Food and Drug act which protected consumers by preventing the manufacture, sale, or transportation of misbranded, poisonous, or deleterious foods, drugs, medicines, and liquors. Since Teddy was able to clearly layout his domestic policy and pass bills that supported his policy, he far and away deserves an A for organization.

  • PROFESSIONALISM:A-

Although Teddy Roosevelt was certainly rough around the edges, he still showed great respect for the Oval Office and more importantly showed great respect for the public. It was very important for Teddy to build a strong relation with the public. This included your average day civilians, other politicians, as well as the media. Some critics of Teddy argue that he was too unpolished and wild to serve as the image of the United States. However Teddy still had a great relationship with the public. He thought it was important for himself to have a good relationship with the media so the average day citizens could be informed on what is happening in politics. Teddy would meet with the media every day for at least an hour and only had a couple issues with journalists since they were fabricating stories. Teddy's ability to create a good public image for himself is what gets him the A- in this category.

  • CONTRIBUTIONS:A

There are many key contributions that Teddy Roosevelt made during his presidency. In terms of Foreign Policy one contribution Teddy made was the Roosevelt Corollary. The Roosevelt Corollary was the addition to the Monroe Doctrine stating that the United States "will intervene in conflicts between European countries/Latin Countries to enforce legitimate claims of European/Latin powers rather than those European/Latin countries press their claims independently."(Wikipedia) Teddy Roosevelt as a whole had a massive impact on our nation and our history. Although his foreign policy has been questioned, he saw it as the right thing to do and stood his ground whenever he was criticized. Very seldom does a president accomplish as much as Teddy Roosevelt did. His Square Deal has saved thousands of acres of environmental life, it has saved people from being a puppet to big corporations, and it has preserved the safety of consumers. An A is awarded to Teddy for this category because he is without a doubt one of the best Presidents the Oval Office has ever held which is evident through the 59 foot mountain on which his face is sculpted.

William Howard Taft Biography

William Howard Taft was born in September 15th, 1857 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Taft graduated second in his class Yale University and then studied law at the University of Cincinnati. He served as US President from 1909 to 1913 and later served as the chief justice of the Supreme Court from 1921-1930. After Taft was the chief justice, he became the first person in American Government to serve in the highest office of both the executive and judicial branch. Taft remained as chief justice of the Supreme Court until shortly before his death on March 8th, 1930 from heart disease issues.

Taft's Report Card

  • LEADERSHIP: C

William Howard Taft had a hard job of following perhaps one of the greatest leader presidents the United States has ever had. The nation loved Teddy and had a great connection with him as well. It more than likely hurt Taft that Teddy at first put his backing into Taft because many people were expecting Teddy Roosevelt part two. Since Taft ended up differing from Roosevelt in almost every way possible which crushed his popularity with the nation. Although a C may seem a little harsh since the nation was expecting so much from him, Taft did not have the leadership skills, charisma, nor the ability to acquire the backing of the nation country merits a higher grade.

  • ORGANIZATION:C

Taft came into the presidency with progressive intentions to increase anti-trust laws amongst other things as well. Taft did in fact do a goo job of "trust-busting" during the early stages of his presidency which is shown through his 80 antitrust suits (almost twice as much as Teddy). However what gives Taft a C is his lack of consistency with progressive acts like trust-busting. Taft began to back away from efforts like trust busting and started to align himself with more conservative views and polices.

  • PROFESSIONALISM:C

William Howard Taft was a professional man, nothing more, nothing less. He never acted inappropriately in the Oval Office. The only things some critiqued him about were his obesity and his opposition with Teddy Roosevelt. Taft did not have a great public image which lead to not many people admiring him as much as Teddy Roosevelt. Taft was given a tough time by Teddy Roosevelt because of his change to a more conservative approach. Roosevelt actually ended up finding another candidate(Woodrow Wilson) to replace Taft. Taft was so fed up with Teddy and the Republicans that he formed his own party known as the Bull Moose Party. Although Taft may have acted appropriate in office, his change in views and poor public image result in yet another C.

  • CONTRIBUTIONS:B

One contribution in which Taft is responsible for a is dollar diplomacy. Dollar Diplomacy was Taft's foreign policy of furthering America's aim in Latin America and and East Asia through use of America's economic power by giving out loans to foreign countries. Dollar Diplomacy was a good foreign policy but many people still preferred Teddy Roosevelt's foreign policy over Taft's. (poor Taft, always being compared to Teddy) Taft earns a B in this category because he did in fact leave many impacts on our nation. His trust busting was in fact very successful and his foreign policy was a good plan to help out countries through America's power. Taft may not have lived up to the expectations Roosevelt set, but his efforts warrant a B.

Woodrow Wilson's Biography

Woodrow Wilson was born on December 28th, 1856 in Staunton, Virginia. He served as the 28th President of the United States from 1913 to 1921. Wilson led the United States through World War I (1914-1918) with the United States joining in 1917. Wilson was an advocate for world peace and and democracy and is ranked as one of the smartest Presidents to serve office. Before he was President of the United States, Wilson was a college professor, university president, and Democratic governor of of New Jersey. After his presidency was over, he opened up a law firm in Washington DC but was unable to get any work finished due to health issues. He died at his house on February 3rd, 1924. He is the only president buried in the Washington National Cathedral.

Wilson's Report Card

  • LEADERSHIP:A

Under Woodrow Wilson's leadership, "Congress enacted the most cohesive, complete, and elaborate program of federal oversight of the nation's economy up to the time: banking reform under the auspices of the Federal Reserve"(Miller Center). Many historians consider Woodrow Wilson's presidency the most productive and proactive presidency of all time. One does not earn these labels through poor leadership. Wilson's ability to unite the nation to back his policies is the reason he deserves an A.

  • ORGANIZATION:A++

As mentioned before, Wilson is often regarded as one of the most productive presidents in US history due to the sheer amount of work he accomplished. Wilson's domestic policy became known as "Wilson's New Freedom" which including the reduction of the tariff on imported goods, reform of the national banking system, and the strengthening of the Sherman Anti-Trust act. Almost immediately into his presidency Wilson achieved significant progressive reform. Congress passed the Underwood-Simmons act, which reduced the tariff on imports and imposed a new federal income tax. It also passed legislation establishing the Federal Reserve and the Federal Trade Commission. The Federal Reserve was made to provide a system for regulating the nation's banks, credit, and money supply. The Federal Trade Commission was made to investigate and prohibit unfair business practices like trusts. During his second term in office Wilson was able to keep America out of World War I for as long as he could. However once Germany began to use unrestricted submarine warfare and once the United States learned about the Zimmerman Telegram,(Germany tried to persuade Mexico to join alliance against America) Wilson had to declare war on Germany. Wilson's organization was top notch which is why he far and way earns an A++++.

  • PROFESSIONALISM:F

Woodrow Wilson was indeed a very professional man and always kept his p and q in mind while in Office. The Nation, especially Congress, without a doubt has his backing which is evident through the amount of bills he was able to initiate and pass. However, Wilson gets a F in this category due to his extreme racism. The reason behind Wilson's racism is more than likely the fact that he grew up in the deep south with parents who were very racist and strict ministers. An example of Wilson's awful racism: "The white men were roused by a mere instinct of self-preservation-until at last there had sprung into existence a great Ku Klux Klan, a veritable empire of the South, to protect the Southern country. Sorry President Wilson, but you do not get a pass on racism just because you were a great progressive president.


  • Contributions:A

Woodrow Wilson had a huge impact on the nation they will forever leave a mark. Wilson's "New Freedom" laid out what he sought to fix in America and ended his presidency by contributing to every part of his domestic plan. Not only that but Wilson was able to expertly keep America neutral during WWI for as long as he could. He formed the Federal Reserve and the Federal Trade Commission, helped negotiate a peace treaty that included a plan for the League of Nations, and saw out women's suffrage. His list of contributions is endless.

Woodrow Wilson at the White House, 1917