Era: Roosevelt vs. Wilson
of the 20th century defined a new role for the presidency
of the United States.
Moving away from their conservative “pro-business”
beliefs, US leaders sounded the alarm for assisting the
needy, protecting workers, conserving our natural resources
beautification cities, regulation of business.
The progressive era saw some of the most forefront
presidents, namely Roosevelt and Wilson.
While Wilson addressed international issues, Roosevelt
took progressivism to new heights on the home front.
Woodrow Wilson played an important part in international
affairs, he did so only because it was the will of business.
Wilson practiced “dollar diplomacy” with foreign
nations favoring business interest.
In Latin American countries, such as Haiti, the
Dominican Republic, and Mexico, he instigated pro-US business
leaders in place of anti-US leaders. On the other hand, Roosevelt had his fair share of international
Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine dictated the position
of the US interference in Latin American Countries.
Roosevelt also sent marines to quash the Boxer
rebellion in China. One
of Woodrow Wilson’s dreams was the League of Nations [Doc
E], which was designed to prevent further outbreak of
war, but resulted in failure with lack of US membership.
While active in world events, Wilson lacked the
magnitude of influence on the national level.
concentrated more on his homeland, especially the wildlife.
Theodore, the outdoorsman, created many state parks and
wildlife reserves to protect these wonders of nature from
being consumed by the corporate machine [Doc A].
Roosevelt appointed Gifford Pinchot to head the
U.S. Forest Service. He also encouraged expansion with the Newlands
Act to utilize natural resources equally.
The Newlands Act made settling in the West easier. His love for nature fueled the Conversation
Movement and Sierra Club headed by John Muir.
enacted the Federal Reserve Act, which created the Fed. He taxed income to provide funds for aid programs
such as the Federal Warehouse Act and the Federal High
Way Act [Doc D]. He
also reduced tariffs against business interest to help
farmers with the Underwood-Simmons Tariff.
The League of Nations was Wilson’s greatest progressive
idea, organized very similar to today’s United Nations. The League of nations would have initiated
armament reductions similar to present efforts, consisted
of a representative from all concerned nations, and negotiated
disputes between nations in a non-violent, diplomatic
fashion [Document G].
Unfortunately, Wilson was unable to persuade the
Congress to ratify the Versailles Treaty.
Without ratification, the United States could not
join the League of Nations, stripping the organization
of most of its potential power.
Although Wilson was highly progressive in thought,
he failed to convert this thought into action.
Roosevelt wanted business to provide a “square deal”
to the American people [Doc B].
To ensure fair competition Roosevelt, the “trustbuster”,
brought down the Standard Oil and American Tobacco monopolies
[Doc F]. The Hepburn and Elkins Acts regulated the railroads
under Roosevelt’s administration.
Wilson also saw the need for federal regulation
of big business with the Federal Trade Commission Act
[Doc C]. However,
while Wilson just wanted to regulation to stop illegal
activities with the Clayton Anti-trust Act, Roosevelt
actively went after unfair business practices.
While each a victor in his own field, one president
exceeded the other in national achievements. Roosevelt
looked more toward, while Wilson away from the nation.
Roosevelt contributed greatly to the Conservation
Movement and started business regulation with trust busting.
Even though Wilson contributed to international
policy making, he did so due to business interest, not