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The role of theodore roosevelt in the progressive movement

Theodore Roosevelt and the Progressive movement By 1901 the reform upheaval was too strong to be contained within state boundaries.

Moreover, certain problems with which only the federal government was apparently competent to deal cried out for solution. Roosevelt had broad democratic sympathies; moreover, thanks to his experience as police commissioner of New York City and governor of New York state, he was the first president to have an intimate knowledge of modern urban problems.

Because Congress was securely controlled by a group of archconservative Republicans, the new president had to feel his way cautiously in legislative matters, but he emerged full-grown as a tribune of the people after his triumph in the presidential election of 1904.

By 1906 he was the undisputed spokesman of national progressivism and by far its best publicity agent.

Progressive Era Politics

Beginning in 1902 with a suit to dissolve a northwestern railroad monopoly, Roosevelt moved next against the so-called Beef Trust, then against the oil, tobacco, and other monopolies. In every case the Supreme Court supported the administration, going so far in the oil and tobacco decisions of 1911 as to reverse its 1895 decision. New York exemplified the Court's pro-business stance.

Roosevelt moved much more aggressively after his 1904 election. He withdrew from the public domain some 148,000,000 acres of forest lands, 80,000,000 acres of mineral lands, and 1,500,000 acres of water-power sites. Moreover, adoption of the National Reclamation Act of 1902 made possible the beginning of an ambitious federal program of irrigation and hydroelectric development in the West. Republican troubles under William Howard Taft Roosevelt was so much the idol of the masses of 1908 that he could have easily gained the Republican nomination in that year.

After his election in 1904 see U. Taft might have made an ideal president during a time of domestic tranquility, but his tenure in the White House was far from peaceful. The Republican insurgents These Republicans, like a majority of Americans, demanded such reforms as tariff reductions, an income taxthe direct election of senators, and even stricter railroad and corporation regulations.

Actually he was temperamentally and philosophically a conservative; moreover, he lacked the qualities of a dynamic popular leader.

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In the circumstances, his ineptness, indecision, and failure to lead could only spell disaster for his party. The measure that emerged from Congress actually increased rates. Republican insurgents and a majority of Americans were outraged, but Taft signed the bill and called it the best tariff law the Republicans had ever enacted. Conflicts and misunderstandings over conservation and legislative procedure caused the rift between Taft Republicans and the insurgents to grow.

By 1910 the Republican insurgents were clearly in the ascendancy in the Congress.

  • Actually he was temperamentally and philosophically a conservative; moreover, he lacked the qualities of a dynamic popular leader;
  • After his election in 1904 see U.

They found their leader in Roosevelt, who had become increasingly alienated from Taft and who made a whirlwind campaign for the presidential nomination in the winter and spring of 1912. Convinced that the bosses had stolen the nomination from him, Roosevelt led his followers out of the Republican convention.

Woodrow Wilsonformer president of Princeton Universitywho had made a brilliant progressive record as governor of New Jerseywas nominated by the Democrats on the 46th ballot.

Progressive Party (United States, 1912)

The real contest was between Roosevelt and Wilson for control of the Progressive majority. Campaigning strenuously on a platform that he called the New NationalismRoosevelt demanded effective control of big business through a strong federal commission, radical tax reform, and a whole series of measures to put the federal government squarely into the business of social and economic reform.

By contrast Wilson seemed conservative with a program he called the New Freedom ; it envisaged a concerted effort to destroy monopoly and to open the doors of economic opportunity to small businessmen through drastic tariff reduction, banking reform, and severe tightening of the antitrust laws. Roosevelt outpolled Taft in the election, but he failed to win many Democratic Progressives away from Wilson, who won by a huge majority of the role of theodore roosevelt in the progressive movement votes, though receiving only about 42 percent of the popular vote.

The New Freedom and its transformation A trained political scientist and historian, Wilson believed that the president should be the leader of public opinion, the chief formulator of legislative policy, and virtually sovereign in the conduct of foreign relations. With the support of an aroused public opinion and a compliant Democratic majority, he was able to put his theories of leadership into effect with spectacular success. Wilson, Woodrow and EdithU. Woodrow Wilson and first lady Edith Wilson, 1919.

Library of Congress, Washington, D. The third, and Wilson thought the last, part of the New Freedom program was antitrust reform. It established an agency—the Federal Trade Commission FTC —with sweeping authority to prevent business practices that would lead to monopoly.

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Meanwhile, Wilson had abandoned his original measure, the Clayton Antitrust Act passed by Congress in 1914; its severe provisions against interlocking directorates and practices tending toward monopoly had been gravely weakened by the time the president signed it. The Clayton Act included a declaration that labour unions, as such, were not to be construed as conspiracies in restraint of trade in violation of the antitrust laws, but what organized labour wanted, and did not get, was immunity from prosecution for such measures as the sympathetic strike and the secondary boycottwhich the courts had proscribed as violations of the Sherman Act.

In a public letter in November 1914, the president announced that his reform program was complete. Consequently—and also because his own political thinking had been moving toward a more advanced Progressive position—Wilson struck out upon a new political course in 1916.

He began by appointing Louis D. Brandeisthe leading critic of big business and finance, to the Supreme Court. With such a program behind him, Wilson was able to rally a new coalition of Democrats, former Progressives, independents, social workers, and a large minority of Socialists, and he narrowly defeated his Republican opponent, Charles Evans Hughesin the 1916 presidential election.

He usually worked well with his secretaries of state, Bryan and Robert Lansingand often relied for advice upon his confidential counselorCol.

Republican troubles under William Howard Taft

Wilson served his apprenticeship by having to deal at the outset of his administration with an uprising in Mexico, set off when a military usurper, Victoriano Huertamurdered liberal president Francisco Madero and seized the executive power in February 1913. It was difficult for the United States to remain aloof because Americans had invested heavily in Mexico and 40,000 U. Victoriano Huerta seated centre with his cabinet, c.

LC-DIG-ggbain-14712 If Wilson had followed conventional policy and the urgings of Americans with the role of theodore roosevelt in the progressive movement in Mexico, he would have recognized Huerta as most European governments didwho promised to respect and protect all foreign investments and concessions. Wilson thus not only refused to recognize Huerta but also tried to persuade the dictator to step down from office and permit the holding of free elections for a new democratic government.

This stratagem succeeded, and Carranza and his army occupied Mexico City in August. Wilson refused to interfere. Carranza emerged victorious by the summer of 1915, and Wilson accorded him de facto recognition in October. In January 1916, however, Villa executed about 17 U. Then, seeking to provoke war between the United States and Mexico, he raided ColumbusNew Mexicoon March 9, 1916, burning the town and killing some 17 inhabitants.

Wilson sent a punitive expedition under Gen. Pershing into Mexico in hot pursuit of Villa, but the wily guerrilla eluded Pershing, and, the deeper the U. There were two serious skirmishes between regular Mexican and U.

Thereafter, Wilson adamantly rejected all further foreign and American suggestions for intervention in Mexico. Pershing centre inspecting a camp during the U. Army expedition into Mexico in search of Mexican revolutionary leader Pancho Villa, 1916. In spite of the appeals of propagandists for the rival Allies and Central Powersthe great majority of Americans were doggedly neutral and determined to avoid involvement unless American rights and interests were grossly violated.

State Department sent several strong protests to Londonparticularly against British suppression of American exports of food and raw materials to Germany.

Why was Theodore Roosevelt was essential to the progressive movement?How far do you agree?

Anglo-American blockade controversies were not acutehowever, because the British put their blockade controls into effect gradually, always paid for goods seized, argued persuasively that in a total war food and raw materials were as essential as guns and ammunition, and pointed out that they, the British, were simply following blockade precedents established by the United States itself during the American Civil War.

As a result of a tacit Anglo-American agreement, the United States soon became the chief external source of supply for the food, raw materials, and munitions that fed the British and French war machines.

At the same time, the president resisted all efforts by German Americans for an arms embargo on the ground that such a measure would be grossly un-neutral toward the Allies. German submarine warfare There was no possibility of conflict between Germany and the United States so long as the former confined its warfare to the continent of Europe; a new situation full of potential danger arose, however, when the German authorities decided to use their new weapon, the submarine, to challenge British control of the seas.

  1. Roosevelt was the only third-party candidate to outpoll a candidate of an established party.
  2. Thereafter, Wilson adamantly rejected all further foreign and American suggestions for intervention in Mexico.
  3. Progressivism in International Perspective, Professor Thomas Bender broadens our perspective, reminding us that the crises of industrialization and urbanization Americans faced in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were also global in their impact.
  4. Wilson at first appealed to the Germans on broad grounds of humanity to abandon submarine warfare, but in the subsequent negotiations he narrowed the issue to one of safety for unarmed passenger liners against violent underseas attack. This stratagem succeeded, and Carranza and his army occupied Mexico City in August.

The German admiralty announced in February 1915 that all Allied vessels would be torpedoed without warning in a broad area and that even neutral vessels were not safe.

The Germans soon gave broad guarantees concerning American ships, and their safety against illegal submarine attacks was not an issue between the two countries before 1917. An issue much more fraught with danger was the safety of Americans traveling and working on Allied ships. A German submarine sank the unarmed British liner Lusitania without warning on May 7, 1915, killing, among others, 128 Americans. Wilson at first appealed to the Germans on broad grounds of humanity to abandon submarine warfare, but in the subsequent negotiations he narrowed the issue to one of safety for unarmed passenger liners against violent underseas attack.

Momentary resolution came when a submarine sank the unarmed British liner Arabic in August. Wilson warned that he would break diplomatic relations if such attacks continued, and the Germans grudgingly promised not to attack unarmed passenger ships without warning.

The controversy escalated to a more dangerous level when a submarine torpedoed the packet steamer Sussex in the English Channel with heavy loss of life in March 1916.

In an ultimatum to BerlinWilson threatened to break diplomatic relations if the Germans did not cease attacking liners and merchantmen without warning; once again the Germans capitulatedbut they threatened to resume unrestricted submarine warfare if the United States failed to force the British to observe international law in their blockade practices.

Wilson tried to arrange a compromise by which the The role of theodore roosevelt in the progressive movement would disarm their ships in return for a German promise not to sink them without warning. When the British rejected the proposal, the president gave the impression that he would hold Germany accountable for American lives lost on armed ships, setting off a rebellion in Congress and the near passage of resolutions forbidding American citizens to travel on armed ships.

Actually, the president had no intention of permitting armed ships to become a serious issue; their status was never a subject of serious controversy between the United States and Germany.

  1. Because Congress was securely controlled by a group of archconservative Republicans, the new president had to feel his way cautiously in legislative matters, but he emerged full-grown as a tribune of the people after his triumph in the presidential election of 1904.
  2. Wilson, Woodrow and EdithU.
  3. Roosevelt lost the election but remained a legendary figure in American political history. Theodore Roosevelt and the Progressive movement By 1901 the reform upheaval was too strong to be contained within state boundaries.
  4. Over 200 ran for U.
  5. The real contest was between Roosevelt and Wilson for control of the Progressive majority.

A violent controversy over preparedness ensued, both in Congress and in the country at large. The army legislation of 1916 was a compromise, with Wilson obtaining only a modest increase in the army and a strengthening of the National Guardbut the Naval Appropriations Act of 1916 provided for more ships than the administration had requested.