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Roosevelt vs. Wilson Essay

The United States government has gone through many changes throughout the years since the first president. The presidential election of 1912 made a significant effect on how our country is ran in this day and age. Though they were bitter rivals from different parties, they infused the presidency with new powers and changed the nation in ways few other presidents have, before or since (Bowles, 2011). Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson debated a political state of affairs that still effects government and industry in our nation today. The issue at hand was trusts. On one hand, Theodore Roosevelt thought that trusts are inevitable. As he said in his 1910 “New Nationalism” speech, “There can be no effective control of corporation while their political activity remains. To put an end it will be neither a short nor an easy task, but it can be done”(Roosevelt, 1910). Woodrow Wilson had a fairly diverse view on how trusts react in our society.

He believes that trusts are natural but not inevitable. On the other hand, Wilson states, in the eighth chapter of his book, New Freedom,” Big business is no doubt to a large extent necessary and natural. The development of business upon a great scale, upon a great scale of co-operation, is inevitable, and, let me add, is probably desirable. But that is a very different matter from the development of trusts, because the trusts have not grown. They have been artificially created; they have been put together, not by natural processes, but by the will, the deliberate planning will, of men who were more powerful than their neighbors in the business world, and who wished to make their power secure against competition”(Wilson, 1913). As you can see, these two men had very dissimilar views on the issue of trusts.

Furthermore, “New Freedom” and “New Nationalism” can be compared because they share similar qualities. However, they can be contrasted because their ideas about how to run the country are diverse. Both state that putting personal needs above the need of the nation is immoral. Another parallel point “New Nationalism” and “New Freedom” share is that both candidates show common conclusion that without large corporations, there would be a smaller break between the rich and the poor. Also, without this differentiation between the rich and poor, our nation would be enhanced as a whole. “New Nationalism” recognized that monopolies and trusts are tolerable as long as they are being of service to the people.

“New Freedom” said that the nation should release all monopolies so that there would be less need for government interference. Wilson endorsed this because he believes that monopolies are shown to be protected by government and can fundamentally direct the administration because of all the money they bestow. In addition, in “New Nationalism”, a deliberation on the responsibility of government in Big Business is that there should be more power. Roosevelt explained that with more legislative control, there could still be trusts but they would be strictly monitored.

“New Freedom” had a conflicting view on the subject. Wilson leaned more on if the nation eliminated its trusts there wouldn’t be a need for more governmental pressure on big businesses because there would be no big corporations. Moreover, the ideas Roosevelt and Wilson discussed are still significant in today’s society. Although our nation has no real monopolies, some large companies seem to take over their industry in some way. An example would be McDonalds. McDonalds is one of the largest fast food chains in the nation. There is not a single person that has never eaten something from McDonalds. Another example is Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart is the largest supercenter in the shopping chain. Just as it is with McDonalds, undoubtedly everyone has been to Wal-Mart at some point in their life.

Finally, one of Teddy Roosevelt’s major accomplishments while in office is the Pure Food and Drug Act. This was an act for preventing the manufacture, sale, or transportation of adulterated or misbranded or poisonous or deleterious foods, drugs, medicines, and liquors, and for regulating traffic therein, and for other purposes (PFDA, 1906). One of Wilson’s greatest accomplishments was the Federal Reserve Act of 1913. This act created twelve “bankers banks”. These banks would hold the responsibility for making the interest and currency rates for the nation (Bowles, 2011). Wilson aspired to influence the ideas and intentions not only of Americans, but of the whole world.

“I have a passion for interpreting great thoughts to the world,” he wrote to his wife in 1916. “I should be complete if I could inspire a great movement of opinion . . . and so communicate the thought to the minds of the great mass of the people as to impel them to great political achievement (Chin, 2011). In conclusion, Roosevelt and Wilson were both very important parts of making our nation what it is today. They used three main ways to shape our society. These are as follows; (1) public dramatizations and taking advantage of the power of the media through the reach and influence of journalists; (2) the education of the public, which was something that Wilson, as a former professor, believed was the critical factor in a successful political leader; and (3) the commitment to party leadership (Bowles, 2011).

References
Bowles, M. (2011). American history 1865–present: End of isolation. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc. Chin, C. C.(2011). The Visible Hand of Woodrow Wilson. Reviews in American History 39(1), 149-155. The Johns Hopkins University Press. Retrieved September 3, 2013, from Project MUSE database. Roosevelt, T. R. (1910, Aug. 31). The new nationalism. Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/primary-resources/tr-nationalism/ United States. Pure Food and Drug Act (1906). United States Statutes at Large (59th Cong., Sess. I, Chp. 3915, p. 768-772; cited as 34 U.S. Stats. 768) In: History of Medicine Division. Medicine in the Americas: Historical Works [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US); 2004-. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK22116/ Wilson, W. (1913). What is progress?. In The new freedom: A call for the emancipation of the generous energies of a people (Chapter II). New York: Doubleday, Page & Company. Retrieved from http://www.gutenberg.org/files/14811/14811-h/14811-h.htm#II


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