The Progressive Presidents

Report
The Progressive
Presidents
US History: Spiconardi
Theodore Roosevelt

Despite being a conservative, Teddy used
the power of the presidency to deal
directly with social and economic problems

Presidency had any power not specifically
denied in the Constitution
Theodore Roosevelt: The Square
Deal

Consumer Protection

Upon reading Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, TR
orders investigations

TR supports legislation to ensure purity of food &
drugs


Pure Food and Drug Act (1906)
Meat Inspection Act (1906)
Theodore Roosevelt: The Square
Deal

Regulating Business

The “Trustbuster”
TR was not against trusts; he believed there were
good ones and bad ones
 Uses Justice Department to prosecute



Railroad, meatpacking, and oil trusts
Encouraged companies that wanted to merge to
work with the government
Theodore Roosevelt: The Square
Deal

Labor Conditions

Investigated coal mines in Pennsylvania when
company refused to go to arbitration with
striking workers

Threatened to re-open mines using federal troops


This forced management to go to arbitration
TR wants a square deal  fair for everyone:
management, labor, consumers
Theodore Roosevelt: The Square
Deal

Conservation



“We are prone to think of the resources of
this country as inexhaustible; this is not so.”
Protected nations environment and wilderness
Purchased parkland, forests, monuments and
wildlife refuges

Triples the amount of public land
William Howard Taft
o
Hand picked successor of TR (Teddy kept
GW’s precedent of two-terms)
William Howard Taft: Reforms

Reforms




Contrary to popular belief, busts more trusts
than TR
Supported eight-hour workday and mine
safety legislation
Sixteenth Amendment  federal income tax
Seventeenth Amendment  direct election of
senators
William Howard Taft: Reforms
William Howard Taft: Problems

Problems


Not a great politician like TR
Wanted to lower tariffs, while Congress raised
them

Progressives felt he backed down on this by not
vetoing a tariff raising bill

Republican Party spilt over protecting American business,
while combating trusts
Election of 1912

Election of 1912


TR upset that Taft allows business men to buy public
land in Alaska
Decides to run against Taft as a member of “Bull
Moose Party”
Election of 1912

Best showing of a third party candidate
Woodrow Wilson

Republicans split vote and democrat
Woodrow Wilson wins presidency
Woodrow Wilson: New Freedom

New Freedom



Concentrated economic power threatened individual
liberty
Monopolies had to be broken up so the marketplace
could truly be open
“Without …interference of the government…there can
be no fair play between individuals and such powerful
institutions as the trust.”
Woodrow Wilson: Financial
Reforms

Financial Reforms

Underwood Tariff Act
1%
$20,000 - $50,000
2%
$50,000 - $75,000
3%
$75,000 - $100,000
4%
Creates Federal Trade Commission
to investigate businesses
$100,000 - $250,000
5%
Federal Reserve System
$250,000 - $500,000
6%
over $500,000
7%


Tax rate
up to $20,000


Income level

lowers tariffs for the first times
since the Civil War
provides for graduated income
tax/progressive tax
National Banking System (12
banks)


Provided for fair interest rates
Money no longer would depend
on gold supply
Woodrow Wilson
Bye-Bye Progressives

End of the Progressive Era

World War I causes US to focus on war effort
and not social change

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