Document 14118534

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I.

The  Progressive  Presidents:  

TR,  Taft,  and  Wilson  

 

Theodore  Roosevelt  was  an  ‘accidental’  president.  

Nominated  as  William  McKinley’s  Vice  President  in  1900  in  order  to   balance  the  ticket  and  diminish  (!)  Roosevelt’s  influence,    

 

 

 

 

 

Roosevelt  becomes  president  in  1901  after  McKinley  is  assassinated.  

At  age  42,  TR  is  youngest  president  in  US  history,  and  was  much  more   liberal  (“progressive”)  than  McKinley.  

As  president  (1901-­‐1909),  Roosevelt  helped  to  transform  the  role  of  the   executive  and  of  the  federal  government  in  general,  through  the  use  of   the  ‘bully  pulpit.’  

 

Roosevelt  saw  the  role  of  the  federal  government  as  the  protector  of  the   public  welfare:  in  this  capacity,  his  administration  filed  44  suits  against   unfair  business  ‘trusts’  (TR  known  as  “trust-­‐buster”);    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  supported  the  labor  union  in  a  bitter  coal  strike  in  NE  PA  in  1902;    

 

 

 

  signed  the  Pure  Food  and  Drug  Act  and  the  Meat  Inspection  Act  in  1906  

(response  to  “The  Jungle”).  

 

 

 

 

Meat  Inspection  Bill  Passes  the  Senate  

Direct  Consequence  of  Disclosures  Made  in  Upton  Sinclair's  Novel,  "The  Jungle."  

Added  Without  Debate  to  Agricultural  Bill  as  a  Rider  

ITS  ADOPTION  UNEXPECTED  

New  York  Times  26  May  1906  

 

WASHINGTON  -­‐-­‐  The  Senate  to-­‐day  furnished  another  surprise  in  the  line  of  radical   legislation  by  passing  the  Beveridge  Meat  Inspection  bill.  Fifteen  minutes  before  it  was   passed  not  a  Senator  would  have  admitted  that  the  bill  had  a  ghost  of  a  chance  to   become  a  law  certainly  not  this  session.  Its  passage  is  the  direct  consequence  of  the   disclosures  made  in  Upton  Sinclair's  novel,  "The  Jungle."  

 

 

 

Also  involved  in  conservation  of  natural  resources,  passing  the  Newlands  

Reclamation  Act  of  1902  to  provide  government  funding  for  large-­‐scale   irrigation  projects  across  the  West  and  ultimately,  with  the  support  of  

Chief  Forester  Gifford  Pinchot,  set  aside  over  170  million  acres  of  public   land  as  national  parks  and  monuments.  

 

 

 

Remaining  extremely  popular  throughout  his  presidency,  Roosevelt  could   have  easily  won  a  third  term,  but  instead  stepped  aside  in  favor  of  his  

‘hand-­‐picked  successor,’  William  Howard  Taft,  his  Secretary  of  War.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

II.  William  Howard  Taft  easily  won  election  in  1908  over  the    

Democrats’  erstwhile  candidate,  William  Jennings  Bryan.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taft  soon  demonstrated  that  he  was  nowhere  near  the  skillful  politician   that  Roosevelt  had  been,  and  despite  progressive  sympathies  he  fell   under  the  influence  of  more  conservative  party  leaders—greatly  angering  

TR.  

Taft  recognized  that  his  techniques  would  differ  from  those  of  his   predecessor.  Unlike  Roosevelt,  Taft  did  not  believe  in  the  stretching  of  

Presidential  powers.  He  once  commented  that  Roosevelt  "ought  more   often  to  have  admitted  the  legal  way  of  reaching  the  same  ends."  

 

 

Taft  alienated  many  liberal  Republicans  who  later  formed  the  Progressive  

Party,  by  defending  the  Payne-­‐Aldrich  Act  which  unexpectedly  continued   high  tariff  rates.    

 

He  further  antagonized  progressives  by  upholding  his  Secretary  of  the  

Interior,  accused  of  failing  to  carry  out  Roosevelt's  conservation  policies.  

(“Ballinger-­‐Pinchot  controversy”)  

In  the  angry  progressive  onslaught  against  Taft,  little  attention  was  paid   to  the  fact  that  his  administration  initiated  80  antitrust  suits  in  just  four   years,  and  that  Congress  submitted  to  the  states  amendments  for  a  

Federal  income  tax  and  the  direct  election  of  Senators—long-­‐time   progressive  goals.  

 A  postal  savings  system  was  established,  and  the  Interstate  Commerce  

Commission  was  directed  to  set  railroad  rates.    

In  1912,  when  the  Republicans  re-­‐nominated  Taft,  Roosevelt  bolted  the   party  to  lead  the  Progressives,  thus  guaranteeing  the  election  of  

Woodrow  Wilson.    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

II.

Woodrow  Wilson  became  the  first  southern  president  since  before  the  Civil  

War.    Won  435  electoral  votes  to  Roosevelt’s  88  and  Taft’s  8,  despite  carrying   only  6  million  of  15  million  popular  votes  cast.    Socialist  Eugene  Debs  gained   nearly  1  million  popular  votes  (no  electoral  votes).  

 

 

 

 

Domestic  issues  dominated  his  first  term,  with  a  program  known  as  the  “New  

Freedom.”  

 

 

Major  accomplishments  included:   o

Establishment  of  the  Federal  Reserve  System  

 

 

 

 

  o o

 

 

Strengthened  anti-­‐trust  legislation  (Clayton  Antitrust  Act  of  1914)  

Creation  of  Federal  Trade  Commission  to  regulate  businesses  involved   in  interstate  or  foreign  trade  

  o o

Passage  of  the  Underwood  Tariff,  lowest  tariff  in  decades  

Ratification  of  16 th income  tax  (1913)  

 Amendment,  establishing  a  graduated  federal   o

Ratification  of  17 th senators  (1913)  

 Amendment,  allowing  the  direct  election  of  

 

 

 

Wilson,  however,  ignored  the  plight  of  African  Americans  and  segregation   remained  firmly  entrenched  during  the  Progressive  Era.  

Wins  re-­‐election  in  1916  on  his  record  of  domestic  accomplishments  and  the  fact   that  “he  kept  us  out  of  war”,  but  within  months  US  enters  WWI,  which   dominates  and  largely  derails  Wilson’s  second  term.  

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