How Progressive was Theodore Roosevelt as U.S. President
During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, political corruptions and wealth inequalities were accompanied by the rapid development and expansion in the United States in the form of the Gilded Age. Overlapped at last ten years, the Progressive Era war started, when the major so- cial and political reforms were made in the United States. The progressivism aimed to remove problems caused by industrialization, urbanization, immigration, and political corruption that se- verely affected the U.S.
The Progressives like Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson insisted that the United States should allow a more active form of government in order to moderate the worst aspects of industrial capitalism. Especially, Roosevelt built The Square Deal for the pro- gressive reforms and implemented some Acts to change America in progressive ways. Roosevelt is considered as a progressive president in the U.S. history, as he worked for the consumer protec- tion, control of corporations, and conservation throughout his presidency.
Theodore Roosevelt was a progressive president who worked for consumer protection, as he espoused the laws that restricted the sale and production of contaminated or mislabeled food and medicines. He hoped every American to eat clean and healthy food whoever they are, hence he carried out few policies dealing with the sanitary of the food. In 1906, Roosevelt applied the Meat Inspection Act in order to prevent the American citizens from consuming the unsanitary meat (Rouse). The Act forced the meatpackers to use and follow the strict sanitation guidelines when slaughtering and processing the meat. In addition, Theodore Roosevelt created the Pure Food and Drug Act in the same year, which stopped the contaminated food and medicine being sold and required the truthful labels on the food products (Schechtman). It also terminated the transportation and trade of adulterated or detrimental food, liquors, and drugs. As these two poli- cies were the laws that had never treated or made before, it determines that Roosevelt was pro- gressive as a U.S. president, with the major reforms for the consumer protection. As well as his policies for the consumer protection, Roosevelt also used his progressive ideas to decrease the political corruptions and monopolies of corporations.
Teddy Roosevelt also curbed the political corruptions and abuses of immense corporations by controlling the trusts and monopolies, pointing out that he is progressive. During his presiden- cy, Roosevelt was renowned for facilitating reforms that controlled monopolies and trusts, and he fought for the appropriate working conditions of factory employees. For instance, in 1900, due to Roosevelt’s acts fighting to dissolve the monopolies and trusts, more than 40 monopolies were controlled. He specifically utilized the Sherman Antitrust Act in order to regulate monopolies and trusts, filing 44 antitrust suits. As a result, Roosevelt’s goal to regulate the monopolies and trusts was achieved by breaking up corporations such as Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Co. and some trusts like the Beef Trust and Northern Securities Trust (Leccese). Moreover, in 1902, when there was an anthracite Coal Strike between the miners’ Union and coalfield operators, Roosevelt interced- ed in the strike and proceeded the compromise. After Roosevelt’s action in the strike, the Coal Strike ended in a 10 percent pay increase and a nine-hour working day for the coalfield workers (Grossman).
As the evidence all show Roosevelt’s maneuver treating the colossal corporations and monopolies, they prove that Roosevelt was successful in curbing the political corruptions and abuses of huge companies. Roosevelt’s attitude towards the corrupted corporations, and the re- forms made to prevent monopolies and trusts indicate that his policies were progressive. Furthermore, Roosevelt proves himself to be progressive by not only curtailing the corruptions of corporations, but also preserving America’s environment and nature. Theodore Roosevelt was progressive since he set a lot of policies and established various conservation centers to protect the United States’ natural resources. As Roosevelt was one of the few Americans who did not ignore the environment and attempted to preserve it at the early 20th century, his behaviors towards the conservation are considered to be progressive.
Ever since he became aware that there is a limited amount of natural resources, he always tried to preserve the nation’s environment by executing several Acts. Take for instance, Roosevelt retained 148 million acres of forest reserves in the United States, and also founded roughly 50 wildlife shelters and many national parks (Howard). Besides, Roosevelt employed the National Reclamation Act of 1902, also known as the Lowlands Act, on the purpose of utilizing the land for agriculture (Ga- noe). The Act allowed the government to fund large-scale irrigation projects for the arid lands in the West of the United States. Roosevelt Dam and Shoshone Dam in Wyoming were the most fa- mous dams constructed by the Act, and they show the ability and passion of President Roosevelt to preserve the environment. These Roosevelt’s laws and constructions about the conservation indicate how progressive Roosevelt was, since the positive attitude of conservation was not common in that period. As he revolutionized the concept of conservation by processing his Acts to protect the environment, Roosevelt was a very progressive president in U.S. history. On the whole, Theodore Roosevelt was progressive due to his policies in regards to conservation.
To sum up, Theodore Roosevelt was progressive as a U.S. president, as he enacted the Square Deal, which mainly protected consumers from the food market, decreased the corruptions of corporations, and conserved the environment. With Roosevelt’s progressive domestic three C’s policies, he is currently well-known for being one of the most progressive presidents in the American history. As his efforts to implement progressive ideas were supported by a large portion of American citizens, he was able to successfully handle domestic problems with confidence. Later, after his presidency, as a result of Roosevelt’s progressive convention and platform, the Progressive Era’ began in the United States, the American Conservationism was established, and the power of the Federal Government drastically grew.
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