In the presidential election of 1912 there were two progressive candidates that impacted the landscape of America. Candidates Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson were the frontrunner of the 1912 election. This election changed the country in ways that we as Americans can feel today. These two candidates spawned a progressive movement from a place where many American felt as if their government fell to help out the man on the ground doing the work. In a time when there was a big disparity between the rich and the poor throughout the country because of capitalism the President McKinley was assassinated to usher in Theodore Roosevelt.
Although he became the President because he was the Vice President at the time of the assassination, Roosevelt’s charisma and his talent for public speaking made him a popular president. His ability to relate to the common man wasn’t the only thing that created favor among the masses; his policies while in office gave played a major role in his popularity. Let’s take a look at some of them. Roosevelt was a person that cared for the people, and as such when the popular book “The Jungle” by Upton Sinclair brought the countries attention to the meat and how it was packaged.
The book told of the horrible unsanitary conditions that the Chicago meatpacking industry used to package their meats. The President then conducting his own investigation, after finding out that conditions were worst then what was in the book he acted quickly signed into law the Food and Drug Act. Thinking of the people and their conditions Roosevelt created what is known today as the Food and Drug Administration. This is just one of the things that President Roosevelt accomplished while in office, showing that he had the welfare of the country in mind.
As President Roosevelt’s foreign policy played a major role in making America a superpower. With the creation of the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine, President Roosevelt told the world that the United States would police the nations of Central America, northern South America, and the Caribbean. This wasn’t because we wanted to be nice, but it was to protect the interest of European investors and America’s economic interest (Mitchener and Weidenmier, 1941).
This showed that President not only had the people’s welfare in mind but he had the financial future of the country n mind as well. During the election of 1912 there were two big Progressive Candidates that ran in this election. We covered some of the accomplishments/views of Theodore Roosevelt during his presidency before this election period, now let look at the Woodrow Wilson’s views. “I am, therefore, forced to be a progressive, if for no other reason, because we have not kept up with our changes of conditions, either in the economic field or in the political field. We have not kept up as well as other nations have.
We have not kept our practices adjusted to the facts of the case, and until we do, and unless we do, the facts of the case will always have the better of the argument; because if you do not adjust your laws to the facts, so much the worse for the laws, not for the facts, because law trails along after the facts. Only that law is unsafe which runs ahead of the facts and beckons to it and makes it follow the will-o’-the-wisps of imaginative projects. ” (Wilson, 1913) In this statement that Wilson made he shows his feeling of why he is a progressive.
Just as Roosevelt, Wilson felt as if the government was doing too much, yet not enough for people. So during the 1912 election he found himself running on a New Freedom platform where he wanted to limit federal government and fight the monopolies. He did this by addressing Tariffs, Banks and Business. He was successful in lowering tariff on such things as woolen, steel rails, raw wool, and iron ore. Now when he did this he brought back the federal income tax which hadn’t been in existence since the days of the civil war. Wilson used these federal income taxes to help run our government that he campaigned need to be limited.
This federal income tax we are still paying today and we still haven’t limited government’s control over us. By addressing Banks I think that Wilson was able to help the agriculture industry and hurt the country’s finical status in the long run. With the Federal Farm loan Act farmers were able to cover the increasing cost of land. This helped the agriculture industry, but the Federal Reserve System created a system where the country was able to stabilize prices of goods in the country, and mange long term interest rates.
I know you’re asking how is this a bad thing, to which I reply “Housing Market. ” I think that if you owned a house or even watched the news you know that this when our system failed us. Thanks Wilson. As far as the Business Wilson was able to establish the Federal Trade Act. This Act was established to deter business from conducting unfair trade practices. The Federal Trades Act allowed its member to investigate and take action on companies who practice unfair trades. Summary
In his campaign to change the Country through a New Freedom Woodrow Wilson beat out the more popular Theodore Roosevelt. The changes that Roosevelt made in office and the promises of a new and improved government did not fair that well against the promise of less government in the New Freedom that Woodrow Wilson offered during his campaign. The two Progressive Presidents stood for the betterment of the people and the removal of these giant corporations in the government. They both accomplished this in their own way, yet they did it differently.