Jeremy Keeshin Ch.

23 655-672

Progressive Reforms and
Theodore Roosevelt’s Square Deal
To what extent did Theodore Roosevelt’s presidency fulfill the goals of progressive reformers?

Theodore Roosevelt was the ideal progressive president and his goals were the epitome of what progressive reformers wanted to accomplish. The progressive reformers could not have asked for a better president to embody their ideals. Roosevelt took it upon himself to better the nation by pushing social, political and economic reform. The main ideas of the progressives were their emphasis on the effects and conditions of industrial life. This was a major part of the agenda of President Theodore Roosevelt as well. Inherent to industrial life were the large businesses and trusts. Roosevelt took it upon himself to mend this problem. Known as the “Trustbuster,” he filed many antitrust lawsuits against major firms. His busting of National Securities through a Supreme Court case and his suits against beef trusts and the American Tobacco Corporation set the tone for his presidency. He would do things his way. The very opinionated Roosevelt was a perfect candidate to further the objectives of the progressives. He knew what he wanted and he got it done. It was very convenient that his ambitions coincided greatly with those of the progressives. He was a major conservationist and realized the importance of nature. He wanted to make sure the nation used their natural resources efficiently. This agreed with the progressives. Theodore Roosevelt’s “square deal” is perhaps the most compelling part of his progressive persona. He served as a mediator between the laborers and corporations when a dispute broke out, as was the instance in the coalmines in 1902. He helped get workers a ten percent wage increase while he was at it. This was a prime example of how Roosevelt cared for the general well being of society, another one of progressivism’s main aims. Roosevelt’s presidency was all about reform. He sought reform in trusts and succeeded. He sought reform in labor and succeeded. He sought reform in railroads and food and drugs and succeeded in those areas as well. He was a very persuasive man who got what he wanted. This was why he helped the progressive movement so much. He realized a problem in industrial society, he looked for a solution, and he acted on it. That is the entire essence of the progressive ideology, and he executed it perfectly. Railroads needed reform so he lobbied Congress for the Elkins Act and later the Hepburn Act to strengthen the ICC. He saw that there were dire problems in the meatpacking industry and drug industry so he petitioned for the passing of the Meat Inspection Act of 1906 and

Jeremy Keeshin Ch. 23 655-672 the Pure Food and Drug Act. The resolve on the part of Theodore Roosevelt helped him fulfill the goals of the progressive reformers in spades.

Spirit of progressivism Well-being of society New social sciences Nature arts Effects and condition of industry Optimism about humans Protestantism Affects the majority of people Rise of professions Class out of personal accomplishment Profession societies AMA.. etc. Social Justice Movement Reform Living and working conditions The Purity Crusade Temperance, WTCU , Women’s Christian Temperance Union 18th amendment in 1920 prohibition Women’s Rights and Suffrage Limit working hours 19th amendment 1920 right to vote not denied on account of sex Challenging Status Quo Pragmatism from William James Dewey ideas Socialism and Debs rise Reform in Cities and States Interest Groups and Decline of Popular Politics Voter participation down Reform in Cities Action in the States Factory inspection laws Find business corruption 17th amendment, direction election of senators The Republican Roosevelt Progressive, opinionated, racist Busting the Trusts Roosevelt files antitrust suits vs Northern Securities, wins Also vs. beef trusts, American Tobacco Company, Du Pont Corp. Taft busts way more than Roosevelt

Jeremy Keeshin Ch. 23 655-672 “Square Deal” in Coalfields coal strike, Roosevelt facilitates compromise w/ wage increase Roosevelt Progressivism at its Height Election of 1904 Roosevelt (R ) 336 Parker (D) 140 Debs (Socialist) 0 Swallow (Prohibition) 0 Regulating Railroads Elkins Act prohibits railroad rebates Strengthen ICC Hepburn Act helps ICC Cleaning up Food and Drugs The Jungle (1906) Upton Sinclair, meatpacking conditions TR helps Meat Inspection Act of 1906 Pure food and Drug act required listing of ingredients Conserving the Land Nature, efficient use of resources Hands pres. To Taft