The Compare and Contrast of Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson

Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson were both major icons of the early 20th century and helped generate what we call the Progressive Era. Theodore Roosevelt being an American war hero in the late 19th century by helping The US succeed in the Spanish-American war with the help of his creation and leading of the Rough riders. He was also a Republican and the creator of the American conservation movement. Whereas Woodrow Wilson was a lawyer and an academic of multiple colleges such as Johns Hopkins University and Princeton University where he later became the 13th president of Princeton and severed from 1902-1910.

Furthermore, he was part of the democratic party. These two presidents have many differences as well as similarities which both help them succeed in their presidential terms.


One prime example of similarities between these two was their commitment towards major progressive reforms. One of these reforms being “Wilson’s tariff reform, pushing through Congress the Underwood-Simmons Act, which achieved the most significant reductions in rates since the Civil War.

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He argued that high tariffs created monopolies and hurt consumers, and his lower tariffs were especially popular in the South and West” (Saladin, 2017). Another being one of Roosevelt’s reforms which was the Pure Food and Drug Act. “This Act was passed muckraking journalist like Upton Sinclair (in his book The Jungle) revealed unsanitary conditions in food production and exposed the existence of fraudulent medicine. The imposition of fines was authorized for any companies that endangered the health of consumers” (Solheim 83).

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This act later became what we know now as the Food and Drug Administration or FDA for short. Another similarity between Roosevelt and Wilson was that they both served as governors before their terms of presidency. Roosevelt served as the 33rd governor of New York in 1899-1900 where he then got elected as vice president in 1901 the same year, he was announced president after the assassinated of William McKinley. Where, Wilson was elected as the 34th governor of New Jersey in 1911, just one year before his presidential term. The next similitude linking these two together is they are both winners of the Nobel Peace prize. Wilson won his Peace Prize in 1919 by being the leading architect behind the League of Nations. League of Nations was to ensure world peace after the slaughter of millions of people in the First World War. On the other hand, Roosevelt won his in 1906 for negotiating peace in the Russo-Japanese war in 1904-1905. He also resolved a disagreement with Mexico by resorting to arbitration as recommended by the peace movement. A further similarity of Roosevelt and Wilson was they were both authors. Roosevelt was a prolific writer with some of the most written works out of all the people who have served as the president. “Roosevelt wrote 45 works of biography, history, public policy, and adventure. Perhaps his most notable is The Naval War of 1812, his first book, which was published when he was only 24. It is highly regarded well over a century later” (Esposito, 2017). Now for Wilson he had not wrote quite as much as Roosevelt but he still has fair share of great works such as his first book called Congressional Government: A Study in American Politics, which described his view towards the American and parliamentary government and suggested reforms that would make the American system more efficient to public opinion. The last likeliness of these two former presidents is they both ran for the 1912 presidential election.


Although there are many similarities between these presidents, there are also a few differences. One of these significant differences being their ages when they were sworn into office. Roosevelt was only 42 years old when he was sworn in. He was and still is the youngest person to ever hold the title of president of the United States. Whereas Wilson was a bit older at the age of 56 years old when he was inaugurated in. Another dissimilarity with Roosevelt and Wilson was their military backgrounds. Roosevelt supported former president William McKinley during the 1896 presidential election, after the election as a reward McKinley appointed Theodore Roosevelt as the assistant secretary of the navy. Once the war with Spain started to appear Roosevelt decided to resign from his role as assistant secretary of the navy to form his famous regiment called the Rough Riders. He led the Rough Riders into battle, which decorated him as a war hero. Whereas Wilson never served in the military, rather he was more of a scholarly individual studying at multiple colleges such as Princeton University, University of Virginia school of law, and Johns Hopkins University where he earned his Ph.D. for political science in 1886. He later become a professor for both Johns Hopkins University and Princeton University, where he eventually became president of Princeton in 1902.

Works Cited

  • Esposito, Joseph A. “Presidents as Authors.” Washington Independent Review of Books, 25 Jan. 2017,
  • Ambar, Saladin. “Woodrow Wilson: Domestic Affairs.” Miller Center, The University of Virginia, 29 Aug. 2017,
  • Solheim, Bruce Olav. Making History: A Personal Approach to Modern American History. Cognella Academic Publishing, 2016.
Updated: Feb 02, 2024
Cite this page

The Compare and Contrast of Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson. (2024, Feb 02). Retrieved from

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