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CH. 16-4 TAFT AND WILSON. AMERICAN HISTORY. PROGRESSIVISM UNDER TAFT. Election of 1908—William Taft (R) vs. three-time candidate William Jennings Bryan (D) Taft wins by nearly 1.27 million votes Taft worked to secure Roosevelt’s progressive reforms

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Ch 16 4 taft and wilson



Progressivism under taft


  • Election of 1908—William Taft (R) vs. three-time candidate William Jennings Bryan (D)

  • Taft wins by nearly 1.27 million votes

  • Taft worked to secure Roosevelt’s progressive reforms

  • He also supported creating a Department of Labor

  • XVIth Amendment introduced during this administration but ratified after he left office in 1913.

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  • Granted Congress the power to levy taxes on individual income

  • Progressives supported an income tax to pay for government programs more fairly

  • Taft lost the support of most progressive Republicans

  • The House passed a bill which lowered tariffs on imported goods

  • The Senate version had so many amendments that it turned into a high-tariff bill

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  • Taft signed the bill anyway

  • Progressives were outraged because they thought lower tariffs were a key to lowering prices on consumer goods

  • Taft also alienated Progressive conservation supporters.

  • His secretary of the Interior, Richard Ballinger, was accused of impeding an investigation of public coal-land deals in Alaska

  • Gifford Pinchot accused Ballinger with sabotaging conservation efforts.

  • Taft fired Pinchot

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  • Roosevelt had supported Taft for President but withdrew his support


  • 1910—Roosevelt campaigned for congressional candidates that opposed Taft

  • Roosevelt proposed “New Nationalism”

  • Republicans lost control of the House of Representatives for the first time in 16 years

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  • Election of 1912—Republican party was badly fractured

  • Taft (I-R) vs. Woodrow Wilson (D) vs. Roosevelt (Progressive-Bull Moose)

  • Electoral college totals—Wilson 435, Roosevelt 88, Taft 8

Wilson s new freedom


  • Wilson was a zealous reformer

  • NEW FREEDOM—called for tariff reduction, banking reform, and stronger antitrust legislation—causes supported by Progressives


  • Wilson became the first President since John Adams to address a joint session of Congress

  • 1913—Congress passes the Underwood Tariff Act

  • Reduced tariffs to their lowest level in 50 years

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  • Tariff reduction meant the government had less money

  • The answer was a graduated income tax based on income level


  • Banks regularly collapsed because too many people withdrew their money at once

  • FEDERAL RESERVE ACT (1913)—created a fund for banks to borrow from to prevent collapse during a financial panic

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  • Federal Reserve Act created a three-tier banking system

  • Tier I—Federal Reserve Board—group of persons appointed by the President to run the system

  • Tier II—12 Federal Reserve Banks—these banks served other banks instead of individuals

  • Tier III—Private banks that could borrow from the Federal Reserve as necessary

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  • First time banks were regulated by the government


  • Clayton Anti-Trust Act (1914)—prohibited companies from buying stock in competing companies

  • Made strikes, boycotts, and peaceful picketing legal for the first time

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  • Wilson support the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

  • Enforced antitrust laws and prohibited deceptive advertising

Women gain the vote


  • National American Woman Suffrage Association favored state-by-state approach to women voting

  • Only 4 western states had given women full voting rights

  • Alice Paul and Lucy Burns broke off and formed the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage in 1916

  • The group wanted a constitutional amendment granting voting rights to women

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  • Members picketed the White House in January 1917, chaining themselves to the railings

  • Many picketers were arrested

  • Some went on hunger strikes in prison

  • The state-by-state approach was gaining momentum

  • More states tried to pass women’s voting rights but failed

  • Carrie Chapman Catt launched a new strategy

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  • 1917—World War I—Women strongly support the war effort

  • Their patriotism weakens the opposition to women voting

  • Congress proposed the XIXth Amendment in 1919 and it was ratified in 1920 granting full voting rights to women

Progressivism and the rights of african americans


  • Progressive reform had limited success for African Americans

  • Roosevelt hosted Booker T. Washington for dinner at the White House (a first)

  • Roosevelt appointed an African American to be a tariff collector in South Carolina

  • Brownsville, TX—12 members of the 25th Infantry were accused of going on a shooting spree in town

  • If no one accepted responsibility, the entire group would be dishonorably discharged

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  • No one came forward

  • Roosevelt signed papers discharging 167 African American soldiers, denying them back pay and canceling their pensions

  • The truth came out years later

  • 1972—Records were corrected to show “honorable discharge”

  • Wilson had a bad record on civil rights

  • He opposed a federal anti-lynching law

  • He allowed cabinet members to segregate their offices

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  • Congress passed a law saying it is a felony for blacks and whites to marry in the District of Columbia

  • The outbreak of WWI brought an end to the Progressive era

  • World War I, not progressivism, dominated Wilson’s 2nd term in office


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