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Theodore Roosevelt and The Modern Presidency

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  1. Theodore Roosevelt and The Modern Presidency • 1901 President McKinley assassinated • “I told William McKinley that it was a mistake to nominate that wild man at Philadelphia, I asked him if he realized what would happen if he should die. Now look, that damned cowboy is President of the United States!” – Mark Hanna

  2. Theodore Roosevelt and The Modern Presidency • Roosevelt became the youngest president (42) but he never openly rebelled against the leaders of his party, instead he became a champion of cautious, moderate change

  3. Theodore Roosevelt and The Modern Presidency • Believed that the government should be a mediator of the public good, with the president at its center, he also believed that economic concentration had resulted in a consolidation of power that produced dangerous abuses of power, urged regulation (but not destruction) of the trusts

  4. Theodore Roosevelt and The Modern Presidency • Roosevelt wanted the government to have the power to investigate the activities of the corporations and publicize the results, believing that educated public opinion would eliminate most of the corporate abuses

  5. Theodore Roosevelt and The Modern Presidency • Department of Commerce and Labor (1903) - along with the Bureau of Corporations was to investigate activities of corporations and publicize them

  6. Theodore Roosevelt and The Modern Presidency • In 1902 Roosevelt ordered the Justice Department to invoke the Sherman Anti-Trust Act against the Northern Securities Company, which was a $400 million railroad monopoly in the Northwest led by JP Morgan, EH Harriman, and James J. Hill.

  7. Theodore Roosevelt and The Modern Presidency • “If we have done anything wrong, send your man to my man and they can fix it up”, Roosevelt proceeded with the case and in 1904 the Supreme Court case ruled that the company must be dissolved

  8. Theodore Roosevelt and The Modern Presidency • Even though Roosevelt filed more than 40 additional antitrust suits during his presidency, he had no serious commitment to reverse the prevailing trend toward economic concentration

  9. Theodore Roosevelt and The Modern Presidency • In 1902 the United Mine Workers went on strike against the anthracite coal industry, it dragged on long enough to endanger coal supplies, Roosevelt asked both operators and miners to accept impartial

  10. Theodore Roosevelt and The Modern Presidency • Federal arbitration, the mine operators resisted and Roosevelt threatened to seize the mines, in arbitration the miners got a 10% wage increase and a 9 hour work day, more then the union would’ve got without Roosevelt’s help, but Roosevelt also on several occasions sent in federal troops on the behalf of the employers, Roosevelt’s “Square Deal”

  11. Theodore Roosevelt and The Modern Presidency • During Roosevelt’s first term he was principally concerned with winning re-election, so could not afford to antagonize the conservative Republican Old Guard, he dispensed patronage to conservatives and progressives equally, he won the support of northern businessmen and reformers alike.

  12. Theodore Roosevelt and The Modern Presidency • In the election of 1904 Roosevelt faced conservative Democrat Alton B. Parker and won 57% of the popular vote and lost no state outside of the South, was free to display the extent of his commitment to reform in his second term

  13. Theodore Roosevelt and The Modern Presidency • The Interstate Commerce Act of 1887 established the Interstate Commerce Commission, which was an early effort to regulate the railroad industry but it was weakened by the courts, Roosevelt got the Hepburn.

  14. Theodore Roosevelt and The Modern Presidency • Railroad Regulation Act of 1905 passed which sought to restore some regulatory authority over railroad rates to the government, many were enraged at how cautious it was (Senator LaFollette)

  15. Theodore Roosevelt and The Modern Presidency • The Pure Food and Drug Act restricted the sale of dangerous or ineffective medicines, but was limited by its weak enforcement mechanisms

  16. Theodore Roosevelt and The Modern Presidency • In 1906 Upton Sinclair wrote the powerful novel The Jungle, which caused Roosevelt to push for the Meat Inspection Act that ultimately helped eliminate many diseases once transported in impure meat

  17. Theodore Roosevelt and The Modern Presidency • Starting in 1907 Roosevelt began pushing for more stringent reforms such as an 8-hour work day, compensation for victims of industrial accidents, an inheritance and income tax, and regulation of the stock market.

  18. Theodore Roosevelt and The Modern Presidency • Roosevelt also began to openly criticize conservatives in Congress and the judiciary who were obstructing these programs, this resulted in a widening gap between the president and conservative wing of his party

  19. Theodore Roosevelt and The Modern Presidency • Roosevelt was concerned about the unregulated exploitation of America’s natural resources and its remaining wilderness, using his executive powers Roosevelt restricted private development on millions of acres of undeveloped land, mostly in the West, by adding them to the National Forest system

  20. Theodore Roosevelt and The Modern Presidency • Conservatives in Congress passed a law in 1907 restricting Roosevelt’s authority over public land, Roosevelt and Gifford Pinchot (chief forester) worked to seize all the forests and many of the waterpower sites that were still in the public domain before the bill became law

  21. Theodore Roosevelt and The Modern Presidency • Conservationists promoted policies to protect land for carefully managed development, the National Forest Service (led by Pinchot) supported rational and efficient human use of the wilderness

  22. Establishment of National Parks and Forests

  23. Theodore Roosevelt and The Modern Presidency • Roosevelt's legacy in conservation was that he established the government role as a manager of the continuing development of the wilderness

  24. Theodore Roosevelt and The Modern Presidency • The National Reclamation Act (Newlands Act) provided federal funds for the construction of dams, reservoirs and canals in the West - projects that would open new lands for cultivation and provide cheap electric power this was the beginning of many years of critical federal aid for irrigation and power development in the West

  25. Theodore Roosevelt and The Modern Presidency • George Perkins wrote Man and Nature in which he said the most important consequence of losing forests was the forest’s role in stabilizing the natural environment, received wide attention and became the basis for the National Forest Service

  26. Theodore Roosevelt and The Modern Presidency • Roosevelt championed the expansion of the National Forest System as a way to protect the landscape for continued rational lumbering, but he also greatly expanded the National Park System to protect public land from any exploitation or development at all

  27. Theodore Roosevelt and The Modern Presidency • First national park was Yellowstone in Wyoming (1872), followed by Yosemite and Sequoia in California and Mount Rainer in Washington (1890’s), Roosevelt added Crater Lake (OR), Mesa Verde (UT), Platt (OK), Wind Cave (SD)

  28. Theodore Roosevelt and The Modern Presidency • Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite was a spectacular high walled valley highly popular with conservationists, but San Francisco residents wanted to dam it in order to create reservoir for the city, after the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 and the resulting fire, the public outcry for the dam increased.

  29. Theodore Roosevelt and The Modern Presidency • Opposed by Muir and the Sierra Club, the case was turned over to Pinchot who approved construction of the dam, Pinchot who believed in the rational use of nature was not swayed by Muir’s aesthetic and spiritual arguments

  30. Theodore Roosevelt and The Modern Presidency • Muir helped place a referendum on the issue on the ballot in 1908, but dam was approved by huge margins, the construction of the dam would finally begin after WWI, the fight against the Hetch Hetchy dam helped mobilize a new coalition of people committed to preservation, not the "rational use" of wilderness

  31. Theodore Roosevelt and The Modern Presidency • Panic of 1907 – American industrial production outran the ability of either domestic or foreign markets to absorb it, the banking system and the stock market displayed pathetic inadequacies, and irresponsible speculation and rampant financial mismanagement shattered the prosperity that many thought was permanent

  32. Theodore Roosevelt and The Modern Presidency • The conservatives blamed Roosevelt's "mad" economic policies, he disagreed but did not interfere with their recovery efforts, JP Morgan helped create a pool of assets from several important New York banks to prop up shaky financial institutions.

  33. Theodore Roosevelt and The Modern Presidency • The key to this arrangement was the purchase of the shares of Tennessee Coal and Iron Company which were held by a threatened New York bank, US Steel would buy the shares but needed assurances from Roosevelt that he would not face antitrust action, Roosevelt agreed and the Panic soon subsided

  34. Theodore Roosevelt and The Modern Presidency • Roosevelt made a promise in 1904 that he would not seek a third term, so after 8 years in the White House in which he had transformed the role of the presidency in American government, Roosevelt retired from public life at the age of 50

  35. The Troubled Succession • William Howard Taft was Roosevelt's handpicked successor, seemed acceptable to both progressives and conservatives, easily defeated William Jennings Bryan in the 1908 election, however, 4 years later Taft left office as the most decisively defeated president of the 20th Century, his party deeply divided, and with the Democrats in control of the government for the first time in 20 years

  36. The Troubled Succession • Taft called Congress into special session to lower protective tariff rates, but Taft made no attempt to overcome the opposition of Old Guard Republicans arguing that it would violate doctrine of separation of powers, the result was the Payne-Aldrich Tariff which reduced tariff rates scarcely at all, and in some areas raised them, progressives resented Taft’s passivity

  37. The Troubled Succession • Taft replaced Roosevelt's secretary of interior, James R. Garfield an ardent conservationist, with a the conservative Richard A. Ballinger, a conservative corporate lawyer, Ballinger attempted to invalidate Roosevelt's removal of 1 million acres of forests and mineral reserves from the public lands available for private development

  38. The Troubled Succession • Louis Glavis, an Interior Department investigator, charged Ballinger with having connived to turn over valuable public coal lands in Alaska to a private syndicate for personal profit, Glavis took the evidence to Pinchot and Pinchot took the investigation to Taft.

  39. The Troubled Succession • Taft investigated the claims, found that they were groundless and fired Glavis, Pinchot leaked the story out into the press and Taft fired Pinchot for insubordination.

  40. The Troubled Succession • The result of the Ballinger-Pinchot dispute aroused public passion and Taft alienated supporters of Roosevelt completely • Roosevelt became furious with Taft when he returned to New York in 1910 and felt that he alone was capable of reuniting the Republican Party (Taft has) “…completely twisted around the policies I advocated and acted upon.” Theodore Roosevelt

  41. The Troubled Succession • Roosevelt's “New Nationalism” made it clear he had moved away from the cautious conservatism of the first years of his presidency, argued that social justice was possible only through vigorous efforts of strong federal government whose executive acted as the “steward of the public welfare”, those who thought primarily of property rights and personal profit “must now give way to the advocate of human welfare”

  42. The Troubled Succession • Roosevelt supported graduated income and inheritance taxes, workers' compensation for industrial accidents, regulation of the labor of women and children, tariff revision, firmer regulation of corporations

  43. The Troubled Succession • In the Congressional elections of 1910, conservative Republicans went down to defeat while progressive Republican incumbents were reelected, Democrats ran progressive candidates of their own and gained control of the House of Representatives for the first time in 16 years, reform sentiment was on the rise

  44. The Troubled Succession • In 1911 the Taft administration announced a suit that charged US Steel with antitrust violations in the 1907 acquisition of the Tennessee Coal and Iron Company, Roosevelt was enraged by the implication that he had acted improperly

  45. The Troubled Succession • In 1912 Senator La Follette, who had been campaigning for president himself, suffered a nervous breakdown (exhausted and distraught over his daughter’s illness) Roosevelt announced his candidacy for president on February 22, 1912

  46. The Troubled Succession • The campaign for the Republican nomination was battle between Roosevelt (progressives) and Taft (conservatives) but Taft remained the choice of most party leaders who controlled the nominating process, Roosevelt told the convention “We stand at Armageddon and we battle for the Lord”, the Republican convention nominated Taft

  47. The Troubled Succession • Roosevelt launched the new Progressive Party and nominated himself as the presidential candidate, Roosevelt approached the campaign "fit as a bull moose", but many of the insurgents who had supported him during the primaries refused to follow him out of the Republican party

  48. Woodrow Wilson and the New Freedom • Democrats nominated the only true progressive candidate, Woodrow Wilson, on the 46th ballot at the convention in Baltimore in 1912 • President of Princeton University 1902 – 1910, Governor of New Jersey 1910 – 1912, displayed a commitment to reform

  49. Woodrow Wilson and the New Freedom • Wilson's “New Freedom” believed bigness (economic concentration in the trusts) was both unjust and inefficient, proper response to monopoly was not to regulate it but to destroy it

  50. Woodrow Wilson and the New Freedom • 1912 Election – Roosevelt and Taft split the Republican vote allowing Wilson to win the election