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Wilson's New Freedom. “Freedom today is something more than being let alone. Without the watchful…resolute interference of the government, there can be no fair play between individuals and such powerful institutions as the trust.” ~ Woodrow Wilson. NCSCOS Goal #7 Page 44.

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Wilson's New Freedom

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Wilson s new freedom

Wilson's New Freedom

“Freedom today is something more than being let alone. Without the watchful…resolute interference of the government, there can be no fair play between individuals and such powerful institutions as the trust.”

~ Woodrow Wilson

NCSCOS Goal #7

Page 44


Wilson s new freedom

Woodrow Wilson spent his youth in the South during the Civil War and Reconstruction. The son, grandson, and nephew of Presbyterian ministers, he received a strict upbringing. Before entering politics, Wilson worked as a lawyer, a history professor, and later as president of Princeton University. In 1910, Wilson became the governor of New Jersey. As governor, he supported progressive legislation programs such as a direct primary, worker’s compensation, and the regulation of public utilities and railroads.

As America’s newly elected president, Wilson moved to enact his program, the “New Freedom,” and planned his attack on what he called the triple wall of privilege.


Wilson s new freedom

His Pledge

  • New Freedom

  • -to fight the evils of society

  • -tariffs

  • -trusts

  • -banking

  • -poverty

  • -disease

  • -corrupt gov’t

  • Wants to fight the Triple Wall of Privilege

“There has been a change of government… Nowhere else in the world have noble men and women exhibited in more striking forms the beauty and the energy of sympathy and helpfulness and counsel in their efforts to rectify wrong, alleviate suffering, and set the weak in the way of strength and hope.”

~Woodrow Wilson’s 1st Inaugural


Wilson s new freedom

Wilson’s New Freedom:

Fighting the Triple Wall of Privilege

Tariffs: costs were too high for most Americans to afford, yet tariffs were the main source of revenue for the federal government

Trusts: companies were still limiting competition for small businesses and keeping overall prices high by forming large trusts

According to Wilson, most Americans were trapped inside a Triple Wall of Privilege, fighting high tariffs, trusts, and high finance.

Wilson wants to break down these walls with his “New Freedom” plan, and he wants to make America more affordable for ALL Americans.

High Finance: people in America did not have the money to pay for the interest rates on loans and borrowing.


Wilson s new freedom

Tariff and Taxes

  • -Wilson addressed Congress in person

  • -1st to do so since Madison’s 1812 War message

  • -Tariffs were lowered for 1st time since Civil War

  • Underwood Tariff

  • Big business angry, Progressives happy

  • -Income tax provision was included

  • Needed revenue for the federal government

  • Allowed by 16th Amendment

  • Graduated tax on personal and cooperate income

  • -soon became main revenue source – main source today

Wilson lobbied hard in 1913 for the Underwood Act, which would substantially reduce tariff rates for the first time since the Civil War. He summoned Congress to a special session to plead his case, and established a precedent of delivering the State-of-the-Union Address in person. Because of the new President’s use of the bully pulpit, Congress voted to cut tariffs in the face of strong opposition.


Wilson s new freedom

Wilson’s New Freedom:

Fighting the Triple Wall of Privilege

Tariffs: costs were too high for most Americans to afford, yet tariffs were the main source of revenue for the federal government

Trusts: companies were still limiting competition for small businesses and keeping overall prices high by forming large trusts

According to Wilson, most Americans were trapped inside a Triple Wall of Privilege, fighting high tariffs, trusts, and high finance.

Wilson wants to break down these walls with his “New Freedom” plan, and he wants to make America more affordable for ALL Americans.

High Finance: people in America did not have the money to pay for the interest rates on loans and borrowing.


Wilson s new freedom

Federal Reserve

  • -Wilson addresses Congress

  • -gov’t needs to be able to control money supply

  • Should be able to adjust amount of money in economy

  • -this reform would remove control of monetary supply from the banking trusts

  • -set up system of 12 national banks

  • Gave federal gov. the ability to control money supply

  • -Federal reserve is an essential part of our economy today

  • Issue money, transfer funds

  • Protects banks and overall economy

To protect the banks and allow the federal government to easily control the money supply, the Wilson Administration set up the Federal Reserve System. The system has 12 national banks, in which every bank in the United States becomes a member of one district bank. That bank loans the smaller banks money and keeps them from going bankrupt. This also puts the banking and monetary systems under federal control.


Wilson s new freedom

Wilson’s New Freedom:

Fighting the Triple Wall of Privilege

Tariffs: costs were too high for most Americans to afford, yet tariffs were the main source of revenue for the federal government

Trusts: companies were still limiting competition for small businesses and keeping overall prices high by forming large trusts

According to Wilson, most Americans were trapped inside a Triple Wall of Privilege, fighting high tariffs, trusts, and high finance.

Wilson wants to break down these walls with his “New Freedom” plan, and he wants to make America more affordable for ALL Americans.

High Finance: people in America did not have the money to pay for the interest rates on loans and borrowing.


Wilson s new freedom

Trust Regulation

  • -FTC, 1914

  • Federal Trade Commission

  • “Watchdog” agency of businesses

  • -FTC could investigate corporate practices and regulate them if needed

  • 400 companies stopped in illegal activity

Woodrow Wilson’s administration began the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in 1914. This group, still in use today, investigates the business practices of big businesses to ensure that trusts and monopolies do not form, making business in America more competitive.


Wilson s new freedom

Trust Regulation

  • -Clayton Anti-trust Act, 1914

  • Strengthened Sherman Act

  • Could not own stock in one another to form monopolies

  • stronger law

  • protected unions

  • Strikes, peaceful picketing, boycotting all legal

  • Injunctions against strikers not allowed

Also a trustbuster, Woodrow Wilson is pictured here as a farmer keeping “Big Business” from Wall Street behind the anti-trust fence, keeping the small businesses from being eaten up by hungry pigs.


Wilson s new freedom

Wilson’s New Freedom:

Fighting the Triple Wall of Privilege

Tariffs: costs were too high for most Americans to afford, yet tariffs were the main source of revenue for the federal government

Trusts: companies were still limiting competition for small businesses and keeping overall prices high by forming large trusts

According to Wilson, most Americans were trapped inside a Triple Wall of Privilege, fighting high tariffs, trusts, and high finance.

Wilson wants to break down these walls with his “New Freedom” plan, and he wants to make America more affordable for ALL Americans.

High Finance: people in America did not have the money to pay for the interest rates on loans and borrowing.


Wilson s new freedom

Suffrage Issue

  • -one of the Progressive reforms

  • Right to vote for women

  • -Carrie Chapman Catt

  • a leader of the modern suffrage movement

  • Invited Wilson to convention

  • Wilson told women to wait

  • -some women moved to more militant efforts

  • Picketing, hunger strikes

  • -women’s support in WW I eventually guaranteed success

  • Very instrumental in WWI

Susan B. Anthony’s successor as president of NAWSA was Carrie Chapman Catt. When Catt returned to NAWSA, she concentrated on five tactics: painstaking organization; close ties between local, state, and national workers; establishing a wide base of support; cautious lobbying; and gracious, ladylike behavior. Although suffragists saw victories, the greater number of failures led some suffragists to try more radical tactics. They pressured the federal government to pass a suffrage amendment, and they picketed the White House and went on hunger strikes. Their efforts, and America’s involvement in WWI, finally made women’s suffrage inevitable.


Wilson s new freedom

While the Progressive Presidents believed in giving greater freedom to average citizens, Roosevelt, Taft, and Wilson all retreated on civil rights once in office. Wilson, with his Southern background, maintained his prejudicial beliefs once in office, which prevented him from using federal power to fight off attacks directed at the civil rights of African Americans.

During the Presidential campaign of 1912, Wilson won support of the NAACP’s black intellectuals and white liberals by promising to treat blacks equally and to speak out against lynching.

As President, however, Wilson opposed federal anti-lynching legislation, arguing that these crimes fell under state jurisdiction. In addition, the Capitol and the federal offices in Washington, D.C., which had been desegregated during Reconstruction, resumed the practice of segregation shortly after Wilson’s election.

“Only two years ago you were heralded as perhaps the second Lincoln, and now the Afro-American leaders who supported you are hounded as false leaders and traitors to their race…As equal citizens and by virtue of your public promises we are entitled at your hands to freedom from discrimination, restriction, imputation, and insult in government employ. Have you a ‘new freedom’ for white Americans and a new slavery for your ‘Afro-American fellow citizens’? God forbid!”

~William Monroe Trotter, address to President Wilson


Wilson s new freedom

The Limits of Progressivism


Wilson s new freedom

Progressive Results

  • -laissez-faire policy fades

  • Government becomes involved in the lives of its citizens

  • -social reforms help many

  • -Women have the right to vote, 19th Amendment

  • 1920, 70 years after they started the fight

  • -African Americans still ignored

  • Still segregated

  • No anti-lynching laws

  • -World War I seems to end reforms

  • Focus on world problems rather than home

Women celebrate as the 19th Amendment is ratified, which officially gave women the right to vote in all federal elections, in 1920. This result was the capstone of the Progressive Movement.

“There is no chance of progress and reform in an administration in which war plays the principal part.”

~Woodrow Wilson


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