Transcript Teddy Roosevelt`s
A Rough-Riding President
Theodore Roosevelt was never intended to be president, because he
was wild and uncontrollable. In 1900, he was nominated for vice
president for McKinley, with the intention of “kicking him upstairs”,
where he could do no harm. That plan died, when McKinley was
assassinated six months into his second term. Theodore Roosevelt,
who was called “that damned cowboy”, was now the most powerful
person in government.
He became the youngest president to hold office at 42 years.
He used his dynamic personality to advance programs
Roosevelt suffered from asthma, and was extremely frail. Despite
this, he challenged himself with demanding physical feats.
He served 3 terms in the New York State Assembly, and then
became NYC’s police commissioner and then assistant secretary of
the U.S. Navy.
When Roosevelt went to war in Spain in 1898, he came back as a
war hero with his cavalry, The Rough Riders.
As an aspiring war hero, he easily won election to Governorship of
New York, and then Vice-Presidency.
1902 Coal Strike
140,000 coal miners went on strike, demanding a 20% raise, and 9-hour
workdays. Mine operators, however, refused to meet or bargain with them.
Instead of calling in troops, Roosevelt had both sides talk it out. He
threatened to take control of the mines himself, so the opposing sides
finally found compromise.
The minors won a 10% raise and a 9 hour workday, and they gave up their
right to strike for 3 years.
A trust is “a combination of firms or corporations for the purpose of
reducing competition and controlling prices throughout a business
or an industry” – answers.com
Many trusts lowered their prices to drive competitors out of the
market, and then jacked the prices to whatever they wanted.
The Sherman Antitrust Act was meant to get this under control, but
because of the laws vague language, it was hard to enforce.
Roosevelt believed in “good trusts” and “bad trusts”. The trusts that
hurt public interest were bad, but he also said that big business
would ensure national greatness.
The Roosevelt administration had filed 44 antitrust suits. He’d won
the nickname, “The Trustbuster”.
He was a tree hugger
Roosevelt promoted laws that protected citizen’s health and the
1906, he pushed for passage of the Meat Inspection Act, which
dictated that meat had to be clean.
The Pure Food and Drug Act halted the sale of contaminated foods
and medicines, and called for truth in labeling.
Before Roosevelt, the government paid little attention to natural
resources. Roosevelt set aside 1.5 million acres of water-power sites
and another 80 million acres of land that would be explored for
water and mineral resources. He established more than 50 wildlife
sanctuaries and several national parks.
Roosevelt and Civil Rights
Roosevelt did not support civil rights for African Americans, even
though there were a few individual African Americans that he did
He appointed an African American as head of the Charleston, South
Carolina, custom house.
Progressivism Under Taft
Mr. President Taft
Roosevelt was so popular, that he could pick a successor. He chose
his secretary of war, William Howard Taft. Because he was chosen
by Roosevelt, victory in the election was easy.
Taft was a more cautious president, more clumsy and had a
tendency to irritate people.
Though he was for lowering tariffs, the Payne bill, which was
suppose lower rates on manufactured goods, had most cuts
eliminated by conservative Republicans in the Senate.
Taft appointed Richard A. Ballinger as his Secretary of the Interior,
which angered conversationalists.
Ballinger removed one million acres of forest and mining lands from
the reserved list and sold them to Seattle businesses.
The Republican Party Splits
Taft’s timid nature made it impossible to hold together the two sides
of the Republican Party: The Progressives and the Conservatives.
The party split as Taft gave support to Joseph Cannon, who was
your every day, poker-playing, rough-talking and tobacco chewing,
He was the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
He anointed himself head of the Committee on Rules, which decided
the bills that Congress would consider. Under his virtual dictatorship,
progressive bills were often ignored, or weakened.
They progressive Republicans wanted him out, and finally got it
after George W. Norris debated a resolution that called for the entire
House to elect the Committee on Rules.
The Committee was run by Democrats after that.
The Bull Moose Party
During this time, Theodore Roosevelt was on a hunting trip in
Africa. In 1910, he had a hero’s welcome, people were very happy
to see him.
He became a leader of the Progressive Republican Party.
They named themselves the “Bull Moose Party”, because Roosevelt
boasted that he was “as strong as a bull moose.”
Because the Republican Party was at such a war, the Democrats
finally had a window of opportunity at the White House since 1892.
Their reformer candidate, and the Governor of New Jersey,
The Election of 1912
Wilson’s views were progressive, but demanded stronger antitrust
legislation, banking reform and reduced tariffs.
Roosevelt and Taft were caught up in their own war within the
Republican Party. Taft labeled Roosevelt as a “dangerous egotist”,
while Roosevelt labeled Taft as a “fathead” with the brain of a
“guinea pig”. Wilson stayed by the sidelines and watched, quietly
gloating, “don’t interfere when your enemy is destroying himself.”
Roosevelt and Wilson both believed in a strong government role,
they just had differing strategies.
Roosevelt believed in the government babysitting big companies,
making sure that monopolies didn’t get out of hand. Wilson believed
in eliminating them all together.
The Election of 1912 Cont.
There was one more presidential runner, who was Eugene V. Debs,
who called for an end to capitalism all together, and believed that
wealth should be distributed more equally among the people.
In the end, it was Wilson who won the presidential election in 1912