The Progressive Era was a time full of people who wanted to change America, and a big part of changing America, meant that the government needed to support and listen to a majority of what American citizens wanted. Presidents during the Progressive Era each played some kind of role that helped move America forward. Of those who were presidents during the Progressive Era, Theodore Roosevelt, was most successful at promoting progressive ideas and reforms by acknowledging the public’s opinion, enforcing laws that regulated big businesses, and focusing in on human welfare and economic rights.
Theodore Roosevelt acknowledged the public’s opinions both before, and during his time in office. By doing so, he made changes that adapted to the lives of average Americans, and gave the people a say in what their government was doing. American citizens wanted change in their working environment prior to 1902 more than anything. As a result of nothing being done for the people, there was the Coal Strike of 1902. Roosevelt handled it quickly and accordingly, considering he thought this coal strike could ultimately lead to a social war. Roosevelt decided to appoint a commission in order to prevent all future strikes. President Theodore Roosevelt’s quick actions, and adjustments to the Progressive Era made him influential to the way other presidents of the Progressive Era handled their important tasks by showing them that it was important to meet the needs of the nation.(Greenberg 2016).
Big businesses flooded the country during the Industrial Era, and Theodore Roosevelt made it his priority to find a way to regulate the growing businesses. Roosevelt was best known for trust busting, which for him was to regulate big business as much as he could in order to protect societies welfare. Theodore Roosevelt used the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 to help him regulate big businesses in the court systems, and passed the Hepburn Act of 1906. The Hepburn Act of 1906 gave the Interstate Commerce Commission the ability to regulate railroad rates and extend its jurisdiction. By doing this, Theodore Roosevelt made it easier for William Taft and Woodrow Wilson to enforce laws that focused in on big businesses.
Theodore Roosevelt focused in on economic rights, and human welfare. He found it crucial to make sure that when a situation was handled, everyone got a fair share to things. He regulated big businesses which assisted in his main focus on human welfare. Thus leading to the Square Deal. The square deal was a domestic policy created by Roosevelt that was driven by three important concepts: control of large corporations, conservation of natural resources, and the protection of the consumer (TEA 2018). Although many people in the nineteenth century were familiar to the term square deal, many didn’t believe that it was effective until Theodore Roosevelt stepped into office. Roosevelt gave a new meaning to the Square Deal, he made it to where it was fair for everyone. To help provide economic security to needy people during rough times President Roosevelt also signed the Social Security Act of 1935, a federal retirement program for the elderly. (Costly) Lastly one of the greatest accomplishments that Theodore Roosevelt help this country’s economic rights and preservation of our land, he established 150 National Forests and 5 National Parks in the US (National Parks Service 2017)..
Overall, President Theodore Roosevelt was most successful at promoting progressive reforms and ideas, because he did things that most Presidents prior to him didn’t do. Roosevelt listened to the public’s opinions, and framed his work around what he personally thought was best for America. Some of his decisions such as handling the Coal Strike of 1902, the Hepburn Act of 1906, and the Square Deal, helped move America forward during the Progressive Era. By focusing on what the people wanted, and by doing what he thought was best for the people, President Roosevelt progressed America forward during his time as President.
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